On 5 March, deputies from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), the National Action Party (PAN), and the Green-Ecologist Party of Mexico (PVEM) approved the General Law on Water in committee. Among the controversial points stipulated by this law is the privatization of the provision and construction of water infrastructure throughout the country, a move that is made with the supposed “public interest” in mind, as well as the participation of finance-capitalists and private entities that would replace the public service, in addition to the regulation of water use for hydraulic fracturing (fracking).
Legislators in opposition have indicated that the law has been passed only to grant immunity to the firms that already exploit large amounts of water, such as Coca Cola and Nestlé. The PRD deputy Aleida Alavez Ruiz indicated that it is a “shadily” edited law, given that it claims to defend the human right to water, but then succumbs to a commercial view of the vital substance, as it would impose taxes on all forms of its consumption and eliminate the subsidies that support thousands of families.
In a pronunciation, more than 5,000 persons and 1,000 scientists rejected the Law in question (also known as the “Korenfeld Law”), and they have called on society to mobilize itself when the proposal comes up for consideration again. The document challenges the adoption of “a model of management that has proven to be unsustainable, and that now favors more the commercialization of water toward a burgeoning in private enterprise in the realm of infrastructure and services.” It is stressed also that the initiative omits completely the right to health and freedom from pollution, as “the impunity to pollute lives on,” and “concessions of huge hydraulic works are being promoted which use massive amounts of energy, thus contributing to global warming.”
On 9 March, Manlio Fabio Beltrones, the parliamentary coordinator for the PRI, reported that the Council on Political Coordination of the Congress had agreed to postpone discussion of the new law so as to provide “the time that is necessary to clarify the questions and information” in such matters.
On 10 March, however, civil organizations and hundreds of persons held a forum outside the Congres to protest what they see as the “privatization” of water.
For more information (in Spanish):
Avalan diputados dictamen que facilita la privatización del agua (La Jornada, 5 de marzo de 2015)
Coca Cola y Nestlé están entre las grandes beneficiarias de la nueva Ley del agua (Sin Embargo, 9 de marzo de 2015)
OSC y más de 5 mil personas demandan desechar la iniciativa de Ley General de Aguas (Pronunciamiento, 9 de marzo de 2015)
Diputados frenan “el tiempo que sea necesario” la Ley de Aguas, tras las protestas (Sin Embargo, 9 de marzo de 2015)
Ley de aguas afecta a millones para beneficiar a la insustria, acusa protesta en San Lázaro (Sin Embargo, 10 de marzo de 2015)
Repudio Social contra la ley general de aguas (La Jornada, 11 de marzo de 2015)