Water management in Latin America needs better infrastructure, technologies

Mexico City, Nov 25 (EFE).- Better infrastructure design and the use of technologies that promote circular water management systems would help cities contribute to water resource management in Latin America, experts said Friday.

Jose Antonio Torre, director of the Center for the Future of Cities at Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Carlos Hurtado, Sustainable Development Manager at the FEMSA Foundation questioned, in a joint article, whether cities have an efficient management of natural resources such as water, energy and food.

“Unfortunately the answer is no. From small cities to megacities in our region face multiple challenges, especially regarding urban water systems,” they said.

According to UN-Habitat estimates, a new metropolis is to emerge every two weeks in the next 15 years and it is estimated that the world is to grow from 1,934 to 2,363 megacities.

“This implies that almost 1 billion new people will become urban dwellers,” they said.

That is why they consider that the challenge in the near future is the concentration of people in a small number of cities.

For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 81% of the population lived in urban areas in 2020, making it the most urbanized region on the planet.

The new population dynamics, industrialization and climate change have generated, the experts said, pressure on all natural resources, “particularly water.”

“The care of sources, as well as the maintenance, renewal and expansion of water infrastructures require urgent, concrete and scalable actions,” they said.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), by 2050 the demand for water will increase by 55%, meaning more urban centers competing with each other for the vital liquid.


That is why the specialists proposed that cities improve the design of infrastructures, as well as the use of technologies that have already been successfully tested and that can promote circular water management systems.

“That is to say, incorporate equipment that allows making the most of the valuable water resource, from rainwater catchment, on-site treatment, and its reintegration to the subsoil through passive strategies in buildings such as green roofs, permeable surfaces, floodable gardens, among others,” they said.

Currently, in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, the FEMSA Foundation in collaboration with Tecnológico de Monterrey, the Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, and DistritoTec are carrying out a project that incorporates different technologies to enable a building to supply its own water without depending on public utilities.

The project uses technologies for rainwater collection and transmission, ambient water condensation, and a wastewater treatment plant, which allows water to be reused for green areas.

The project seeks to gather information on the behavior and operation of these technologies, which is to be monitored and studied by the Water Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, “with which we also hope to encourage innovation and replicability.”

“It is important to promote those solutions that allow a more sustainable use of the supply, transfer and treatment of water, to the extent that technological innovation and its cost allow it,” said the specialists, who promote other projects to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in the region. EFE


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