Fighting for the Human Right to Water in Mexico City

The scarcity, contamination and discrimination in the distribution of water throughout the world has become one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. In Mexico, the problems regarding water are realities that we experience every day, especially in rural communities and in city outskirts. Today, 38 Mexican cities suffer from supply problems, 90 percent of rivers are contaminated, and the country lacks a solid culture of water conservation.

In the Valley of Mexico, the area with the most urban density in the country and the most populated, the demand for water exceeds the availability, a situation that has required the liquid to be obtained from increasingly farther distances and through the over-exploitation of aquifers.

Water is a non-renewable resource, essential for life and for the achievement of other human rights (food and health, for example). It is therefore a determining factor for human development, which must be a priority in the design of laws and public policy.

In Mexico City, the water management model is being discussed in the state legislature as a result of six initiatives to reform the city's water laws presented during the past few months.

Among things to be aware of, necessary focus on [the water initiative] (yes, I’m afraid).

Academics and civil organizations have issued opinions in various forums, though there have been no formal spaces for deliberation of the initiatives. Neither has the initiative announced by the head of state in March, the so-called “Law for Water and Water Sustainability,” been publicly disclosed despite having already been ruled upon.

COMDA [Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water] requires clear info on changes in private sector participation in water services in Mexico City.

According to the media [es], the initiatives were to be decided in the first extraordinary period (June 9-10), although according to some notes, the final discussion was postponed [es] until the end of June in the second extraordinary period. Faced with the risk of “fast track” approval, organizations from the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water mobilized this past Monday against the legislature.

Mobilization Monday at 12 p.m. against ALDF [Legislative Assembly of Mexico City] to demand they don’t vote on the Water Law before it has even been published in the Gazette!

The decentralization of the Water System of Mexico City, the increase and change in the private initiative, [es], the determination of rates, and the incorporation of the human right to water, are only some of the topics covered in the initiatives.

It is very important to promote a participatory process of review and discussion about water legislation…

From some spaces, such as the Coalition of Mexican Organizations for the Right to Water, or the Space for Participation in the Human Right to Water, of the Monitoring and Assessment of the Human Rights Program of Mexico City [es], the impact and scope of the initiatives are already being discussed. However, because water is a highly technical and specialized topic — although fundamental as a human right — it is little known and receives little attention from most of the public.

From the Space for Participation of Mexico’s Federal District Program for Human Rights, the approach for 6 initiatives to modify the water law in the Federal District were presented in the District Legislature.

While those of us who have had access to the various initiatives know that they offer both positive and cutting edge elements that potentially violate the human right to water, it is necessary that other defenders and protectors of human rights —not only those related to the environment and water— autonomous human rights agencies, academics and ordinary citizens join the discussion and dissemination of information on a subject that concerns us all and directly impacts everybody.

If you are interested in the future of water in your city follow, share and contribute to the hashtags #LeyAgua / #LeyAguas#LeyAguaySustentabilidadHídrica. Let's be informed and talk about it.

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