The Mexican government is proceeding with a $500 Million USD water treatment project to remove arsenic from water to be supplied 1.6 million people in 9 municipalities in Durango and Coahuila.
The project aims to build a water treatment facility and 52km of aqueduct to redirect water from the Francisco Zarco Dam to the populations.
In March, the contract to build the purifying plant was awarded and in April another one was awarded to build 10km of water pipes. Alejandra del Valle, a local official from Morena, said: “We are on time and on track with the original plan.”
The soil in the region is rich in arsenic and this has posed considerable risk to the local populations who have relied on underground water for consumption, often by drilling clandestine wells.
Critics have pointed out that the new project will not solve the problem of the depleted underground reservoirs or the drilling of clandestine wells.
The project’s price tag is also being criticised. Juarez University researcher Gonzalo García Vargas, commented: “To me this is very wasteful, when there were other ways of purifying the water where purity is strictly necessary, such as for drinking and cooking. A lot of money could have been saved.”