IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and SUEZ, the water and energy company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop brownfield and greenfield water, wastewater and waste management projects throughout Mexico.
SUEZ is willing to contribute through its expertise in projects and concessions that offer water, wastewater and waste management solutions to local authorities and industries; while IFC will use its experience of investing in these sectors in a sustainable manner, leveraging its IFC Sustainability Framework, a network of national and international institutions, and effective relationships with national and subnational public authorities.
effective relationships with national and subnational public authorities. “The whole water and waste value chain requires very large investments that can only come from a strong and effective collaboration between the public and the private sectors,” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Vice President of IFC. “In collaboration with SUEZ and with municipal, state, and federal agencies, our goal is to implement a number of exemplary projects that will have strong impact and serve as demonstration for many more to come.”
The water sector in Mexico poses significant challenges and opportunities. Although the country has abundant water resources in the south, more than half of its population lives in areas considered waterstressed. In addition, insufficient investment in infrastructure and water management issues has turned Mexico into one of the largest waterstressed countries in the world.
In this context, 105 out of the 731 river basins across Mexico have water constraints, and 106 out of the 653 existing aquifers have been severely overexploited. Many of these aquifers represent the main water source for urban settlements and rural communities, as well as farmland. Due to these issues, the water availability has diminished from 18,000 m3 per capita per year in 1950 to 3,900 m3 in 2013, and almost 35 million Mexicans live in water-scarce areas.
“What we signed is an opportunity to implement a new business model combining technical expertise of SUEZ with stability in the asset management with a long-term investor, IFC,” said Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ.