COCEF Participa en Congreso Mundial del Agua con ejemplo de Tucson

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Cancun, Mexico.- BECC recently participated in the XVI World Water Congress, jointly organized by the International Water Resources Association (IWRA), Mexico´s National Water Commission (CONAGUA) and the National Water and Wastewater Utilities Association (ANEAS). “Bridging Science and Policy” was the theme of this Congress held in Cancun, Mexico, from May 29 to June 2, 2017. The purpose of the event was to facilitate dialogue and collaboration between the various communities and water sector stakeholders, linking professionals in the different water disciplines with information and experiences related to water issues around the world.

 According to ANEAS Director Roberto Olivares, the Congress provided a unique venue to exchange experiences and harmonize research efforts with policy objectives, strengthening relations between scientists and water policy makers. IWRA has organized World Water Congresses for more than 40 years now, and the Cancun congress took place at a crucial moment for water resource management, where according to the organizers, the unique role of water is increasingly being recognized in Conference of the Parties (COP) processes as a key component to climate change adaptation. In the context of this event, the BECC submitted the following projects to the Congress Technical Committee.

The projects were approved and presented at this World Water Congress: - Low Impact Development using Natural Systems (LID) initiative in the U.S.-Mexico Border - Energy Efficiency as a Method to Improve Local Water Management Practices - Impact Assessment of Wastewater Projects in the U.S.-Mexico Border These projects are part of emerging initiatives advanced by the BECC and the North American Development Bank, and represent the way in which these institutions have evolved in the face of U.S.-Mexico border challenges. Maria Elena Giner presented the LID initiative on May 31st during a panel discussion she co-chaired with Adrian Vazquez.

She said the initiative is intended to provide an urban planning model for the border that helps to mitigate the environmental, economic and social impacts of inappropriate storm water management.

The methodology was based on the experience of Tucson, Arizona and consists of

a) a series of forums and technical training,

b) development of a municipal legal framework and standard design manual for Mexican communities and

 c) implementation of pilot projects with the involvement of residents, local governments and the private sector.This effort has led to the implementation of the initiative in the state of Sonora, and ongoing efforts in Nuevo Leon and the Lower Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

 The Energy Efficiency in Utilities Study presented by Fernando Ortiz demonstrated the importance of best practices as a way of reducing costs associated with energy consumption, an important expense for utilities.

 A highlight of this presentation was the outcome of the 2013 energy audit for the water and wastewater utility in Piedras Negras. Implementation of recommended energy efficiency measures resulted in a 45% reduction of the utility´s annual energy cost. A second phase of this program was the Energy Efficiency Learning Network developed in coordination with the German Cooperation Agency (GIZ).

This program was implemented in 2015 with 14 small and medium-sized water utilities in the state of Coahuila, including workshops where the utilities shared experiences and benefited from personal interactions with world-renowned experts. The measures implemented as part of the Network resulted in savings of more than 20% in the utilities' energy bills, improving their long-term operations and financial feasibility. The initiative to assess the impacts of basic wastewater infrastructure on the U.S.-Mexico border was presented by Adrian Vazquez. The presentation included the results of two studies carried out in the area known as the Valley of Juarez, located east of Ciudad Juarez, a poor rural community, and four cities in Baja California.

The Results Measurement methodology was used to determine the impact of an US $253 million investment in wastewater projects in these two regions. The assessment concluded: · Wastewater treatment collection and treatment significantly improved between the years 2000 and 2015; infrastructure projects implemented by the BECC and NADB were an important catalyst for this achievement. ·

On average 90% of residents in the project areas were connected to the collection and treatment systems and eliminated their cesspools and latrines. · The decrease in the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases was significant in three of four communities studied ranging from 16% to 33%. · Opinion surveys showed a high degree of satisfaction with the operation of the utility (87%+) as well as a perception of well-being associated with the implemented project (90%).

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