Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (2023)

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (4)

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (5)

Background Paper: Sustainable Water Resources Management: The Challenge of the 21st Century
Sub-Axis: Technological Aspects of Multipurpose Water Resources Projects
Side job: Economics and finance

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (6)


Arsenio Milian,Präsident, Milián, Swain and Associates, Miami, Florida, USA

Maria C. Flores de Otero,InternationalPresident, Inter-American Association of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering (AIDIS), Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico


subtrack:Technological aspects of multipurpose water resource projects

Dr. Medardo Molina,Principal Technical Advisor, United Nations World Meteorological Organization – FINNIDA project for the rehabilitation of hydrometeorological systems of the Central American Isthmus, San José, Costa Rica

Eldon Garcia,Managing Director, Floresta, Inc., Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

subtrack:economy and finance
Ken Friedrich,Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future, Washington, D.C., USA.

Dr. Jorge Ramirez,Director, Colombian Institute of Hydrology (HIMAT), Santa Fé de Bogotá, Colombia

wine flowerSupervisor, Planning Department, South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, Florida
background document
Sustainable Management of Water Resources: The Challenge of the 21st Century,of Absalom Vasquez, Arsenio Milian and Vinio Floris
articles and authors

subtrack:Technological aspects of multipurpose water resource projects

1.Water resources in times of sustainable development: an integrated economic, technical, environmental and institutional approach,vonHarold J. Day,University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA.

2.The development of a hemispheric network as a vehicle to ensure education, training and technology transfer in water resource projects,vonHector R. Fuentes, V. A. TsihrintzisjR. Jaffe,Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA.

3.Priority decisions in Latin America for water management,vonPhilipp from Kirpich,Consulting Engineer, Miami, Florida, USA.

4.Hydrometeorological Networks and Data Management for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America,vonMedardo Molina,FINNIDA-Projekt, San José, Costa Rica;Eladio Zarate,Regional Committee for Hydraulic Resources, San José, Costa Rica; Andnabile likeNational Weather Service, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

5.water management for the 21st century,vonAlbert Muniz, JI García-Bengochea, R. David G. PynejWilhelm B. Ziegler,CH2M-HILL, Florida, USA.

6.Planning - Essential to Conservation of Natural Resources: The Puerto Rican Experience,vonHarald Otero-TorresjMaria C. Flores de Otero,Consulting Engineers, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.

7.Adequate wastewater treatment technologies for sustainable development,vonErnst Perez,Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

subtrack:economy and finance

8.water markets and other mechanisms to decentralize water management,voneaster bill,University of Minnesota, St. Louis; Paul, Minnesota, USA.

9.Financing investments in water supply and sanitation,vonTerence R. Lee,Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Santiago, Chile.

10Strategy for the development of competitive infrastructure in the economies of the small islands of the Caribbean,Jose Martinez,United States Army Corps of Engineers, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

11make reasonable financial arrangements to ensure the proper maintenance and operation of water supply facilities,vonEnrique Moncada,Nationale Agraruniversität, La Molina, Lima, Peru.

12Environmental issues and environmental regulations from the perspective of the borrower country,vonJose Ochoa-Iturbe,Andrés Bello Catholic University, Caracas, Venezuela.

13Regional Investment Plan for Environment and Health,vonHorst Otterstetter,Director of Environmental Health, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C., USA.

14An Examination of Barriers to Private Sector Participation in Water Resources and Sanitation in Latin America,vonbarbara ricardojKenneth Rubin,Apogee Research, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA. UU.

Background Paper: Sustainable Water Resources Management: The Challenge of the 21st Century

Absalon Vasquez1, Arsenio Milián² and Vinio Floris³

1Minister of Agriculture of Peru; Edit. Ministry of Labor, 6th floor, Av. Salaverry s/n, Jesús Maria, Lima, Peru

² President, Milian Swain and staff; 2025 SW 32nd Avenue, Miami, Florida 33145, United States

³ Professioneller Supervisor, South Florida Water Management District: P.O. Postfach 24680, West Palm Beach, Florida 33416-4680, USA

A background paper prepared for discussion at Roundtable Topic II: Water supply and sanitation infrastructure in the context of sustainable development

Water, air, food, warmth and light are the five essential elements of human existence. However, all bodily processes are so closely related to the presence of water that it can truly be said that all life depends on it. Water plays an important role in all aspects of human existence; to protect the embryo in the womb, maintain body temperature, aid in proper digestion, and lubricate moving joints, to name a few.

Although many will argue that the oxygen humans breathe and the carbon dioxide plants use are equal or more important than water, none of these gases would be useful without water. Without this valuable liquid there is no life, neither animal nor vegetable.

In addition to the physical demands, there are other important needs for an adequate water supply. Food harvested on land is entirely dependent on water for growth, as minerals must be dissolved in the soil before they can be used by plants. Additionally, a significant portion of the proteins and carbohydrates our bodies need come from animals, fish, and plants that are only found in or near oceans, lakes, and streams. For this reason, water resources played a fundamental role in the establishment of the first settlements, since they were used not only for transportation, recreation and fishing, but above all as a source of energy: drinking water, washing, agriculture and waste disposal.

Only two sources of water supply are available to humans: surface sources, such as lakes, streams, and catchments, which ultimately divert the water into retention basins, and land-based sources, including wells, springs, and galleries. Both sources are not always separate. Hydraulic connections exist in such a way that groundwater at a certain location can appear at another, distant place on the earth's surface. It's worth noting that less than 3% of the free-flowing fresh water available on our planet occurs in streams and lakes. The other remaining 97% is underground.

As populations continue to grow at an alarming rate around the world, we face increasing competition for water resources, primarily for self-consumption, irrigation, power generation, flood control, recreation, transportation, and the preservation of natural systems for protection the nature. fish and wildlife. It has been shown that some form of compromise between competing uses is essential as the different uses are not necessarily compatible.

It has been found that where resources are properly managed and clean drinking water requirements are met, national development and improved living standards have taken place. Where it was not met, development was delayed and living standards remained low. Unfortunately, a recent United Nations report found that two-thirds of the world's disadvantaged people lack access to safe drinking water, and while floods make millions homeless, hundreds of millions are affected by droughts.

Since many of these volume-related issues are due to mismanagement. It is extremely important to set priorities for the most efficient use and management of water resources that are not evenly distributed across our planet. Inefficient irrigation practices, excessive industrial and municipal demand, and a lack of conservation practices are some of the obstacles that must be overcome before true sustainable development can be achieved. As a result, competition for water resources, particularly in areas prone to frequent drought or where scarcity is common, leads to instability between regions, cities and even nations. Our challenge today is to set our priorities more appropriately and implement available technologies that should enhance our efforts to use resources more efficiently to avoid critical consequences due to waste, mismanagement and overuse.

Water, a renewable resource

Theoretically, water is a renewable resource since its origin is the water that falls on the earth's surfaces in the form of rain and snow. However, replenishment is dependent on factors such as location, weather, season, evaporation, etc., in addition to the effects caused by demands consuming water faster than replenishment can occur.

As discussed above, there are many different water use requirements (commercial, industrial and public); But in general, the use of water for irrigation and agricultural activities has made high demands while people have consumed smaller amounts.

Past experience has shown that in many parts of the world, water is considered an unlimited resource that can be extracted at very little cost. This way of thinking has led to negative effects on the quantity and quality of resources. Both quality and quantity are linked in the use of water when it is required to meet the needs of a particular use. They should never be considered independently, as the usefulness of the maximum water drawn is limited by its quality. From the user's point of view, the quality of water is evaluated based on the physical and chemical properties required for a specific use.

If one or more of these properties exceed the amount that can be tolerated for a particular use, some type of treatment can be applied to alter or remove the undesirable elements in order for the water to serve its intended purpose. Over the years, the technology has developed so far that a certain water quality can be achieved. However, these are times when alternative sources should be settled outside of their intended use as it may be more economically feasible.

On the other hand, increased demands from larger populations and industries also generate large amounts of waste that can contaminate our main sources of organic and inorganic pollution. Of all the environmental issues we face, polluted water is probably the one with the greatest impact. Every year, millions of people around the world die from diseases related to waterborne bowel disease. As our population grows, the need to conserve, properly treat and reuse water will increase.

In recent years we have witnessed advances in technology that can contribute to our efforts to use water resources more efficiently. Cheaper and more efficient membranes are being used for desalination purposes, and new service expansion processes such as Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) are being successfully implemented. Other methods such as optimizing well fields, reusing wastewater for irrigation or as barriers against saltwater intrusion are also tools that technology can use to improve efficiency in the use of our water resources.

Irrigation and Drainage: Present and Future

Many believe that the Latin American and Caribbean region is wet by definition. The truth is that 25% of the entire country corresponds to arid or semi-arid zones due to the irregular distribution of precipitation. This problem was addressed in the middle of the century with massive construction of water storage infrastructure. In the last 25 years, the area under cultivation has increased by 70%, from 8,245,000 ha to 15,231,000 ha in 1987, as shown in Figures 1 and 2 and Table 1 World.

However, there is a trend in the region towards a more equal distribution of water over time and space, and also towards optimizing its use (e.g. improving irrigation efficiency) towards better management of water and other related resources at the basin level.

The economic and financial crisis of the 1980s raised questions about the role of governments in water supply and management. Of all the countries in the region, Brazil, Mexico and Chile made the most important changes in this policy. All of these countries have chosen different mechanisms, but all have a common denominator: an attempt to integrate and coordinate water management in a sustainable development context. Peru, for example, is in the process of defining a new water policy involving the private sector, the government and all users. The Peruvian government understands that a water market is necessary because, above all, water is a very important public good to which all people must have access, not only for the satisfaction of basic needs, but also for enjoyment and recreation.

Latin American countries use various means to promote irrigation and drainage. If we take Brazil and Peru as an example, they use the following motivations and means:

·Promote the implementation of large-scale irrigation and drainage projects based on regional development plans, such as the Vale do Sao Francisco irrigation project in Brazil and the large coastal irrigation projects in Peru;

·Promotion of small and medium-sized projects based on specific objectives for regions or zones.

When it comes to improving irrigation efficiency, all countries in the region share the same concerns. However, there are some differences in how this goal can be achieved. Venezuela, for example, has very aggressive agricultural policies to achieve irrigation efficiency by improving drainage capacity on irrigated land.

Other problems faced by the region are related to salt water intrusion into coastal areas due to excessive pumping of fresh water from wells. As a result, severe cases of salt water inrush are occurring in the Caribbean islands, Argentina (cities near Mar del Plata), Mexico and El Salvador, where drinking water standards have been exceeded. This is also a problem in areas of North America, primarily the state of Florida in the United States of America.

Soil and water protection

A serious problem of land loss affects almost all Latin American and Caribbean countries. Soil erosion doesn't just cause soil lossper sebut it also causes severe deterioration in downstream rivers and canals (e.g. hydroelectric power stations, shipping, flood control problems) and consequent ecosystem and environmental degradation.

Most of the countries with severe problems are in the mountain or sierra regions. It may sound hard to believe, but many pre-Columbian indigenous cultures used techniques that were extremely efficient in preventing soil erosion. However, these techniques have not been continued, and now they face serious problems. The region's governments are making important efforts to conserve water and soil at the basin level. Table 2 shows the characteristics of watershed management implemented by different Latin American countries.

It is crucial to understand the need to manage resources in a way that benefits current generations while maintaining a high level of quality for future generations. This is the concept of sustainable development that is rapidly gaining ground internationally. It is basically a process of aligning the allocation of resources and investments with present and future needs. This means you only harvest sustainable production or only enjoy the sustainable level of services your ecosystem can provide.

Figure 1: Latin America and the irrigated land of the Caribbean


Figure 2: Irrigated Land in Latin America and the Caribbean (Hectares in Thousands)

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (7)

What: FAO
Table 1: Irrigated Area for Latin America and the Caribbean





































Costa Rica
























The saviour


































































Dominican Republic






Straße. Lucy





St. Vincent/Grenadinen












Trinidad and Tobago
























Table 2: Status of river basin management in Latin America

to = location
b = river basin management programs
c = selection criteria
d = funding sources


To. Pacific and Caribbean basins
B. There is no integrated watershed management plan
C. Interest in pilot basins and hydropower projects
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. Basins in the Caribbean Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Ocean
B. There is an integrated micro watershed program
C. Selection is based on current and future water availability
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. Twenty-one basins in the Atlantic and Pacific
B. No management plans have been implemented
C. A methodology has been provided for operational plans and small areas

The saviour

To. Seventeen basins in ten regions


To. thirty-one sinks
B. By 1988, 82 watersheds were in operation.
c. not reported
D. Central and local government


To. 35 basins in the Atlantic and Pacific
C. The methods used were developed by FAO, US AID, OAS
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. 37 hydrographic regions with 139 main basins (Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean)

B. Pilot basins in 15 states

C. The methodology follows the river basin management plan

D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources

Dominican Republic

To. one hundred and six pools
B. There is a national plan
C. None reported
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. Basins in three outlets: Pacific, Atlantic and Lake Titicaca
B. Methodology for catchments, sub-catchments and micro-catchments
C. Soil conservation and productivity improvement projects
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. Three main basins: Amazon, El Plata and Altiplano
B. Prioritization based on available water resources, hydropower potential
C. Flood prevention and human life improvement projects
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. Two hundred and thirty-seven cymbals
B. Available methodology that prioritizes pools
C. Social aspects are taken into account.
D. International Cooperation and Domestic Resources


To. The catchment areas are not managed uniformly

B. Projects to maintain infrastructure and protect against floods and other natural phenomena


To. National Basin Management Committee
B. River basin management is related to hydroelectric potential and agricultural production


To. Three types of pools of high level (most of the rural), medium and low level
B. No plans were implemented
C. He considered all human needs.
D. The Department of Environment funds programs

Source: Report of the Workshop on Evaluation of Watershed Management Programs and Projects. Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 1991.

Electricity generation from hydropower

As already mentioned, energy is one of the main elements for development. One of the most practical ways to mine it is through hydroelectric power generation, which transforms hydraulic energy into mechanical and eventually electrical energy. In order to obtain this type of energy, not only economic resources are needed, but also natural conditions (topography and hydrology). Latin America is very lucky with the latter. Its steep mountains and the high flows of its rivers create an enormous hydroelectric potential (about 22% of the world) representing 700,000 megawatts, while the developed (installed) capacity is only 22% of this total (153,500 megawatts). ).

Hydropower is the most common type of energy generation in the region (64%), while thermoelectric plants account for 32.4%. The power generated in 1991 was estimated at around 590,000 gigawatt hours. The increase in demand in the region is around 5% per year.

The largest hydroelectric power plant in Latin America is Itaipu (Brazil) with an installed capacity of 12,600 megawatts. Guri (Venezuela) and Chingo (Brazil) follow in second place with 10,000 and 5,000 megawatts respectively.

Latin America has a long tradition of generating electricity from hydropower. Its advantages over others (thermal power plants, nuclear power plants, etc.) are well known. However, it is important to list some of the issues that need to be addressed and the priorities that need to be set in order to increase efficiencies and keep a key demographic in the region powered.

To. The high initial investment of hydroelectric power plants is an incentive for some to use conventional options such as thermoelectric power plants. The latter require a much lower initial investment but have high operating and maintenance costs. Another disadvantage would be dependence on a flammable product that could cause environmental problems and is not available in many countries in the region (e.g. the Caribbean Islands).

B. Little attention to operation and maintenance is another concern. Scarce financial resources and the lack of a serious operations and maintenance program contribute to reducing the useful life of the equipment, its reservoirs and its water infrastructure.

C. Little attention to changing and preserving the environment (fauna and flora) surrounding hydropower projects. To help in this area, credit institutions currently require an environmental impact study for every hydropower project before construction begins.

D. Taking into account theits kindConditions of the region make it difficult to choose a suitable technology for the efficient use of hydroelectric power plants. For example, the high concentration and quality of sediments in the upland regions create serious problems in reservoirs, hydraulic infrastructure and hydromechanical equipment (e.g. turbines), which are usually designed for different solids transport conditions.

My. Existence of single-purpose hydraulic projects. Although this vision is fading, many projects have been created with this in mind. This contradicts modern systems approach theory, which states that infrastructure can be used for multiple purposes: energy, irrigation, flood control, water supply and, something underdeveloped in Latin America, recreation, thereby greatly increasing benefits and reducing your costs .

F. Little attention to hydropower planning. This creates uncertainty when evaluating long-term or short-term decisions when considering the construction of small or large plants and the implementation of efficient interconnected systems.

One of the best ways to avoid mistakes is to learn from past mistakes. It is important to establish mechanisms to connect users and providers, technical and administrative personnel, and state legislatures. Only in this way can we offer a reliable and efficient service and achieve sustainable development.

Along the road

In order to achieve water resource sustainability, there is clearly a need to produce a comprehensive review of existing water management practices. This requires reversing damage to natural systems and providing adequate water supplies to meet rural and urban needs. If immediate action is not taken in this regard, natural systems will continue to deteriorate, which will undoubtedly affect the region's economy and quality of life.

The use of current technologies and innovative ideas should lead to the region living in balance with its water resources. Sustainable management of water resources will be crucial in the 21st century, as the urban and natural environment, economy and quality of life of the region depend on it.

Sub-Axis: Technological Aspects of Multipurpose Water Resources Projects

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (8)

Planning and management of water resources in times of sustainable development: an integrated economic, technical, environmental and institutional approach
Development of a hemispheric network as a vehicle to ensure education, training and technology transfer in water resource projects
Priority regions in Latin America for water management
Hydrometeorological networks and data management for the prevention of natural disasters in Central America
Water management for the 21st century
Planning - Essential to Conservation of Natural Resources: The Puerto Rican Experience
Adequate wastewater treatment technologies for sustainable development

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (9)

Planning and management of water resources in times of sustainable development: an integrated economic, technical, environmental and institutional approach

Harold J. Tag1

1Universidad de Wisconsin-Green Bay, 2377 S. Webster Avenue, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54301, EE. UU.

a prediction

The new era of sustainable development that has begun in many parts of the world, including North America, will inspire water resource professionals to seek better planning and management approaches. One such approach will be to integrate ecology, economics, technology and institutions into the analysis of water quantity and quality problems within a catchment.


Sustainable development can be defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (World Commission on Environment and Development). Several recent developments have inspired water resource professionals to consider the concept of sustainability as a central focus in future planning and management. New scientific discoveries, the growing world population and the changing global economy are three examples that apply to many nations. The evolving change in water quality management policy in the United States is an example limited to one nation.

new scientific knowledge

In the last ten years, new scientific knowledge has been gained in many subjects. One that has sparked interest in sustainability is the ecosystem perspective. Historically, water resource professionals have planned and managed in a fragmented manner. With some notable exceptions, water volume and quality issues have been resolved separately. Land use issues such as urban sprawl, have been addressed with minimal consideration for impacts on neighboring communities or receiving watercourses. The ecosystem perspective was introduced to the Great Lakes in the early 1980s as evidence of persistent toxin bioaccumulation in fish and fish-eating birds grew (Harris, Bay State). Attention to the upstream contributions of nutrients, suspended matter, and persistent toxicants to downstream pollution problems also emphasized the interconnected properties of a watershed ecosystem. The recognition of wetlands as valuable parts of a watershed also occurred during this period. The ecosystem perspective is now widely accepted in many regions as a central part of planning and management of land and water resources.

world population

Water and air are the two absolutely essential elements for human life. Water consumption per capita has long been recognized as an important indicator of quality of life. The rapid growth of world population is leading some nations to consider water as a strategic resource. The Middle East is the most notable example. Mapping of region's water resources, S. The Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, and Jordan rivers become increasingly important as populations increase. Other regions also have limited water and rapidly growing populations (Downey, et al.). The level of poverty in a given country is often directly correlated to population density and inversely to water use. The concept of sustainable growth can help water planners and policy makers in such troubled areas prepare for the future.

Change the world economy

The evidence of a rapidly changing global economy is all around us. The most interesting is the North American free trade agreement NAFTA (Grayson). A more recent and perhaps globally more important agreement is the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT. The European Union, EU, is another large multinational organization. Each of these agreements is based on the assumption that reduced trade barriers are beneficial to all participating nations. The associated increased competition is seen as the main driving force that will force everyone to become more efficient or go out of business.

The need for more cost-effective planning and management of water resources will be a natural consequence of these global developments. An interest in sustainability can complement an effort to be profitable.


The evolving changes in water quality planning and management in the United States were chosen as an example of combining concepts of sustainability with those of profitability. Over the past three decades, improving the quality of this nation's surface water has been based on a complex process that might be termed Limited Regulatory Management (LRM). The LRM process could be characterized by the following features: Technology based on point source reduction, i. H. municipal and industrial pollution from a regulatory process that included significant building subsidies, typically 75%, to municipalities and concern for regulatory consistency, e.g. all municipal wastewater treatment. plants in secondary school.

The latest draft of the Clean Water Act, the key federal law aimed at reducing surface water pollution, contains several features that suggest LRM may soon be history. Two of them are pollution prevention and watershed-based planning. Pollution prevention has been part of industrial management for decades due to its economic benefits. Now the idea is being applied to entire communities to cost-effectively reduce water pollution. The basin has been used as a logical land area for water resource planning and management in France and the UK for many years. Now the idea is proposed here. The possibilities for more cost-effective water body clean-up make the watershed approach very attractive. The challenge is to find an effective way to integrate ecology, economics, technology and institutions into a framework for cost-effective analysis. The concept of least cost is an approach to integration effort. The result of such an integrated analysis would be a step towards the sustainability of water resources.

The next section is a more detailed description of the concept of minimum cost.


The basic approach is to generate information about the costs of different pathways to achieve different sets of desired outcome goals of a given land and water region, e.g. B. a watershed to achieve. Target sets would be defined as a specific combination of indicators describing the use of land and water to achieve a specific level of goods and services (outputs). A typical set of indicators would be: population growth, technological changes in industry and other social activities, social preferences. Three sets of hypothetical targets in a given region are:

Set of Goals I - Maintain current product levels (with expected population and economic growth, including pollution avoidance).

Goal Set II: Goal Set I activities plus the resumption of swimming on some beaches and an increase in fin and shellfish harvesting.

Target Set III: Target Set II activities, as well as the resumption of swimming at virtually all beaches, the restoration of many wetlands as habitat for waterbirds and spawning fisheries, and a significant increase in finfish and shellfish catches (both species and quantities).

The first step would be to ask aquatic biologists what values ​​of various ecological water and sediment quality indicators, for example dissolved oxygen, turbidity, heavy metal concentrations, algae concentration, and how many hectares of rehabilitated habitat are required to achieve this. the output levels of fish and shellfish yields and waterfowl yields set by the three target groups. The values ​​of relevant environmental indicators for water quality would also be determined, e.g. For example, how big should the Secchi disc be, i. H. the depth below the surface of the water where a certain colored disk can be seen to be able to swim at the different beaches?

In the second step, the scientists and engineers who model the water and sediment quality in the receiving water bodies would have to estimate what reductions in the inputs of various substances into the water bodies would be necessary in order to achieve the specified values ​​for the quality indicators of water and sediments for each of the Target groups. For example, water clarity on beaches is mainly affected by suspended matter concentrations. Using the Secchi disk measurement as an indicator of water clarity, researchers would specify the relationship between the Secchi disk measurement and the concentration of suspended sediment at each beach.

The third step would be to ask scientists and engineers what reductions in suspended solids discharge into the water would be required to achieve the suspended solids concentrations specified in Step 2 at each beach. The result of this specification is shown in Figure 1. Secchi disc reading associated with the three different levels of reduction in particulate matter input required to achieve the swimming required concentrations for the three baseline levels.

The fourth step would be to divide the catchment area into sub-areas representing the different tributaries. Point and non-point sources of particulate matter inputs in each of these sub-areas are identified, and the amounts and temporal patterns of particulate matter inputs from these sources are estimated. Point sources include municipal wastewater treatment plants, industrial and other activities that discharge directly into receiving waters. Non-point sources include urban storm runoff and storm runoff from non-urban land, primarily agricultural land.

For each of the main sources, estimates are made of the costs of reducing suspended matter inputs by different amounts. That said, for most sources, there are several different levels of download reduction that are possible. For example, a municipal sewage treatment plant could reduce the discharge of suspended solids by 35%, 65%, 80%. Costs will of course increase if further discharge reductions are achieved, bearing in mind that in the case of point sources, the removal of suspended sediment (or any material) from the liquid waste stream results in a semi-solid material. Sludge, which in turn must be disposed of. Annual operating, maintenance and replacement (OMR) costs and capital costs are included. Typically, the annual cost of each alternative is calculated to compare the different alternatives (Grant, et al.). These annual costs are converted into unit costs per tonne of reduced discharge of suspended solids into downstream receiving waters. (Of course, this requires an understanding of the transport and deposition processes between the point of discharge of each source and the area downstream.) The unit costs would be compiled as shown in Table 1. (Note: In this table, all activity in a given sub-basin has been aggregated. In an actual analysis, individual sources would be identified in each basin, unless those sources are individually so small that it is more logical to aggregate them.) The important column for decision making is the last column showing the cost per tonne of reducing the discharge of suspended solids from the source to receiving waters.

The fifth and final step would be selecting theLower costsCombination of measures to achieve the runoff reduction specified for each target bundle. Start with the measure that has the lowest cost per unit discharge into the reduced receiving watercourses downstream. It can be a large point source, an urban stormwater runoff from a community, or a few farms in a specific watershed. If the reduction that would be (or is estimated to be) achieved by this source is insufficient to meet the proposed reduction, the next lower unit cost option would be added. The process of adding measures would continue until the required overall reduction is achieved. The results for the three target groups would be summarized in Table 2 and shown in Figure 2.

This process would be repeated for other materials of interest, e.g. B. organic substances, heavy metals, phosphorus. In doing so, one would find that some physical measures to reduce the release of a particular material of interest would also reduce the release of one or more materials of interest. heavy metal excretions.

Figure 1. Relationship between the reduction in suspended sediment input to downstream waters and the reading of the Secchi disk at an adjacent beach

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (10)

Figure 2. Combination of least costly measures to reduce particulate matter (SS) input to achieve specific targets

Table 1. Options for reducing suspended sediments, SS, discharges into downstream receiving waters, estimated unit costs

Added activities by sub-pool

Average decrease in SS entries downstream

Capital costs 1990

Annualized cost of capital, 103

operating and maintenance costs, 103

Total annual cost, 103

Reducing the cost per unit of SS input
$ pro Ton





























(1) Annualized Cost of Capital = Cost of Capital X Capital Recovery Factor, CRF, p. eg 10% at 15 years = CRF of 0.1315; 7.5% at 20 years = CRF of 0.1.

(2) Total costs are net costs, i.e. in some cases measures to reduce discharges lead to some savings, e.g. B. Recovered materials or reduced inputs.

Table 2. Least expensive combinations of suspended solids, SS, downstream input reduction measures to achieve the flotation target in each of the three target areas

goal set

Suspended Solids (SS) input reduction required, 103heap

Reduction measures in partial catchment areas, 103heap

(1990 $)

Cost, 103
1990 $



IIA: 1





20. 0




In total





like me :4

40. 0


IIB: 0,5





100. 0

In total


207. 5



As II:11.5



IC: 6


DII: 2,5


In total


475. 0

Once this information was available, it could be used to set policies. Legally, the regulator would decide which goals to achieve. Politically, the general public and their elected representatives have an important responsibility. How much are catchment area citizens willing to pay to achieve the desired receiving water outcomes? The same set of products can be achieved at different costs. Therefore, if more efficient ways are sought and adopted to achieve profitable ways of obtaining the products, higher levels of products can be achieved with the same resources or the resources saved can be used for activities in other desired sectors.

It is essential that the entire range of physical measures, implementation incentives, institutional arrangements and financing mechanisms are taken into account in the analysis process and in the decision-making process.

Now that the least expensive approach is better understood, the practical application of these ideas will be considered. Two potential demonstration sites, one in the United States and the other in Mexico, are briefly discussed.


Location #1 - Fox/Wolf River Basin in Northeast Wisconsin and Lake Michigan

The first location demonstrating a most cost-effective approach to water resource planning and management is the Fox/Wolf River Basin in northeastern Wisconsin. This river system drains approximately 6,000 square miles. It is the largest tributary of the Lake Michigan drainage basin, part of the Laurentian Great Lakes. A map of the area is shown in Figure 3. This basin has been recognized as a pollution problem area for at least fifty years. Details have been previously documented (Harris, et al).

Today, approximately 750,000 people live here, most of whom live in urban areas located in the 10 percent downstream of the basin. The paper industry, historically a serious source of surface water pollution, has been the dominant mode of manufacture in the region for a century. Large rural areas are dairy farms.

Serious efforts to reduce water pollution began in the mid-1970s, with attention focused almost exclusively on municipal and industrial point sources. Since then, nearly $500 million has been invested in wastewater treatment plants, spurred by new federal and state laws and massive building grants to local governments.

The river and bay rallied dramatically, and the fish returned to many areas where they had not lived for many years. In the early 1980s, evidence began to surface that all was not well. At the same time, there was an awareness of the ecosystem concept. Algal blooms associated with excess nutrients upstream continued to plague the lower bay throughout the summer months. Persistent toxins have been found in the body flesh of fish and fish-eating birds. Bioaccumulation was recognized as a new factor. The entire catchment area, including upstream runoff from rural and urban sources, as well as contaminated river bottom sediments from past industrial practices, has been identified as part of the problem.

what should be done This question has been asked by many. The answer ultimately chosen was to use the least-cost approach in a catchment-wide survey of surface water pollution. A year-long framework analysis was funded by various municipalities, industrial companies and private foundations.

The results were very preliminary and did not contain all the characteristics of the least-cost approach. They also did not contain all recognized contaminants, such as river sediments contaminated with PCBs from former paper mill sludge deposits. The results revealed three new pieces of evidence not previously available (analytics team):

- The goal of removing 50% of the phosphorus currently entering Green Bay at the mouth of the river could not be achieved without some reduction in agricultural litter sources.

- The cost of reducing phosphorus and suspended solids from agricultural point sources was often 1% of the cost of removing the same amount from municipal and industrial point sources.

- A small portion of agricultural land contributed most of the phosphorus and sediments.

Figure 3. Location of the Fox-Wolf Divide in relation to Green Bay and Lake Michigan and the state of Wisconsin.

These preliminary results clearly demonstrate that the most cost-effective approach is an improved method for planning the water quality management program for the Fox/Wolf River Basin. Further studies are needed to refine the research results.

Location #2 - Northern Region of the Yucatan Peninsula and Coast of the Gulf of Mexico

The second location for demonstrating these ideas is in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. The area encompasses approximately 4,000 square miles of the northern region of the peninsula, located between the coast and a parallel line drawn through Merida about 20 miles to the south. The region is bordered along the coast by Celestún to the west and Río Lagartos to the east. Between these two small communities stretches approximately 240 miles of coastline that is largely undeveloped. About a million people live in the region, at least three quarters of them in the capital Mérida. A map of the region is shown in Figure 4.

The two demo sites contain similar land areas and populations. Most other features are quite different. The Yucatán site is karstic, meaning the bedrock is highly fractured and there is little or no topsoil. The result is that the rain does not run off. The water evaporates into the atmosphere or enters the aquifer. The concept of land area serving as a watershed does not apply. There is little or no polluted surface water inland and most brackish coastal wetlands currently show little sign of deterioration. There are two national bird sanctuaries along the coast and a generally healthy commercial fishery.

The problem is the increasing pollution of the freshwater aquifer in most urban areas with particular attention to the metropolitan area of ​​Mérida. There is no municipal sewage system. Most homes have a simple septic tank that drains directly into the shallow aquifer. The aquifer drains very slowly north of the Gulf of Mexico. Karst geology makes it very difficult to predict micro-scale groundwater movement. From a regional or macroscopic perspective, the long-term outcome seems pretty clear. The Coastal Marshes, calledSwamp,they become sites of a contaminated coastal ecosystem. Persistent toxins released into the aquifer near Merida from various urban sources and elsewhere in developing orange groves will emerge on the coast and bioaccumulate in fish and fish-eating birds. The value of the coast as a natural area and as an area for future tourism development will decrease dramatically.

Current land and water use policies are unlikely to emerge as significant problems for several years, perhaps more than a decade (Anonymous). Very soon, least-cost analysis could reduce expected problems in the future.


The two locations selected for this article show stark contrasts. The land use, the ecosystem, the institutional arrangements and the technology used are very different. The most significant difference, and the one that makes them very suitable, is that one requires corrective action and the other requires preventative action. Together they symbolize the wide range of locations that will require attention in the future.


The coming years will bring an increasing demand for improvements in the planning and management of our water resources. The concept of sustainable development will stimulate demand. An alternative to such improvements is to use the most cost-effective combination of measures as the core of an integrated management approach. This approach would evoke the explicit inclusion of ecology, economy, technology and institutions. Many existing planning and management features of both water quality and water quantity are part of this integrated approach. The value results from a synergetic effect of the integration. There is very little experience with this integrated management approach and more is needed.

Figure 4. Demonstration Site #2 - North Zone of the Yucatan Peninsula

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (11)

Adapted from: Moseley and Terry,Yucatan: a world apart, University of Alabama Press, 1980, p. 1
Identifying various locations throughout the hemisphere is recommended to demonstrate these ideas. The result would be a trend towards more sustainable use of the region's water resources in the coming years. The Inter-American Dialogue on Water Resources can serve as an incubator to encourage the establishment of various demonstration projects.


This document contains many ideas that BlairT shared with the author. Bower, Senior Fellow, World Wildlife Fund, Washington, D.C. Blair has for many years been a source of encouragement to explore better ways of planning and managing water resources. The section on the concept of least cost was adapted from an unpublished report, Management of Large Water Bodies, prepared by members of the Task Committee on Management of Large Water Bodies, Division of Water Resources Planning and Management, American Society of Civil Engineers became. President, HJ day, November 1991.

The narrative of the Yucatán demonstration site was based on many visits to the region over the past decade and discussions on the subject with various professors and research associates at the Faculty of Engineering at the Autonomous University of Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán. in g. Miguel Villasuso Pino was particularly helpful.

Manuscript preparation, including all illustrations, was performed by staff at the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewer District, Green Bay, Wisconsin. The efforts of Ms. Kay Floating deserve special mention.


World Commission on Environment and Development,our common future, University of Oxford. Press, New York, 1987, p. 8th.

Harris, H.J., The State of the Bay, Informe producido por la Universidad de Wisconsin-Green Bay, Institute for Land and WaterStudies, Green Bay, WI, 1990.

Downey, TJ und B. Mitchell, Middle East Water: Acute or Chronic?, Water International, vol. 18, Nr. 1, März 1993, S. 1-4.

Grayson, G., The North American Free Trade Agreement, Headline Series No. 299, Foreign Policy Association, Sommer 1993.

Grant, EL and W. Ireson,Principles of engineering economics- Fifth Edition, Ronald Press, New York, 1970.

Harris, H. J., Sager, P. E., C. J. Yarbrough und H. J. Day, Evolution of Water Resource Management: A Laurentian Great Lakes Study, The International Journal of Environmental Studies, Band 29, Nr. 1 (1987).

Analysis Team, Cost-Effective Implementation of Water Resources Goals in the Fox-Wolf Basin, Northeast Wisconsin Waters for Tomorrow, Inc. Unveröffentlichter Bericht, Green Bay, WI, Juli 1993.

Anonymous, Water Resources In the State of Yucatán - An Overview, unpublished report of a water resources planning class at the School of Engineering, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, January 1986.

Development of a hemispheric network as a vehicle to ensure education, training and technology transfer in water resource projects

H.R. Fuentes and V.A. Tsihrintzis1; R. Jaffe2

1Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Center for Drinking Water Research, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA; Phone: (305) 348-2837; Fax: (305) 348-2802. Email: Fuentes@ENG.FIU.EDU

² Department of Drinking Water and Chemistry Research Center, Florida International University, Miami, Florida 33199, USA.


In response to the freshwater challenges agreed in Agenda 21, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the nations of the Americas must act in a timely manner Take action to implement water resource projects. These projects must ensure the protection of the supply and quality of freshwater for its inhabitants and ecosystems in terms of sustainable development.

Pursuing concrete action plans that emerged from the conference requires the recognition and implementation of a variety of freshwater-related program areas, including water resource assessments, integrated water resource development and management, water quality protection, aquatic ecosystems, and drinking water supply and sanitation. . At the outset of a continental dialogue, one of the main concerns in establishing an international water resources network is to assess the potential role of such a network in education, training and technology transfer.

This document recognizes typical initiatives where networks positively support and catalyze career advancement, training, information sharing and problem solving through specialized voluntary contributions. Obstacles that need to be addressed are also identified. A list of priorities with goals and concrete tasks for the development of the network in America is also presented.


At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, twenty-seven principles were promulgated in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (United Nations, 1993). These principles define a comprehensive and coherent set of statements and goals that the world's communities must address to ensure implementation of the imperative of sustainable development.

At least four of the principles establish the spirit of implementing lines of communication, such as: B. A network facilitating the flow of information for education, training and technology transfer in water resource projects.

Principle 3. The right to development must be realized in a way that meets the environmental and developmental needs of present and future generations.

Principle 7. States shall work together in a spirit of global partnership to maintain, protect and restore the health and integrity of the earth's ecosystem...

Principle 9. States should work together to strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development by enhancing scientific understanding through the exchange of scientific and technological knowledge and encouraging the development, adaptation, dissemination and transfer of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.

Principle 10. Environmental problems are best managed with the participation of all concerned citizens at the appropriate level. At the national level, everyone should have appropriate access to environmental information from authorities, including information about hazardous materials and activities in their communities, and the opportunity to participate in decision-making processes. States facilitate and encourage public awareness and participation by making information widely available. Effective access to judicial and administrative procedures, including appeals and remedies, will be facilitated.

In short, the message is clear. In order to protect our biosphere for all generations of people, people must become partners who exchange ideas in a timely manner. The message is generic to all priority actions articulated in Agenda 21, but it takes on a much more direct and immediate dimension, particularly in the case of freshwater resource projects, when considering their critical role in sustaining all life forms on Earth.

(Video) Plenary - Going with the Flow: Water Infrastructure and Sustainable Development

Establishing a communications network in the Western Hemisphere to launch a comprehensive inter-American effort to protect the quality and supply of freshwater resources to the peoples of the Americas then becomes a priority task to meet water needs for human development activities across America. Communities The network must start from appropriate considerations about the functioning of aquatic ecosystems, which must reach all places within the political borders of each country, but extend beyond international borders. The network will focus on the exchange, transmission and accessibility of information to address the following key issues (United Nations, 1993):

a) integrated development and management of water resources;
b) protection of water resources, water quality and aquatic ecosystems;
c) drinking water supply and sanitation; And
d) Water supply for sustainable food production and rural development.
Of course, the network can only be possible by backing up at least the following critical media:
a) new and additional funding; And
b) Human resource development.

When examining the best approaches to developing a hemispheric network with a focus on water resources, it is important to review past experiences that can provide a basis for future efforts. This section describes selected examples of past or current partnerships for networking in the hemisphere.

The International Hydrological Initiative of UNESCO

In 1965, as a contribution to solving world problems, UNESCO initiated the first worldwide program to study the hydrological cycle, the International Hydrological Decade, IHD, 1965-1974. The research program included a major effort in the field of hydrological education and training. By the end of the decade, most UNESCO member states had built capacity to implement national priorities and engage in regional and international collaboration. In 1975, UNESCO followed the IHD with the International Hydrological Program, IHP, since 1975, a scientific and educational program that has gradually evolved into a multidisciplinary approach to the assessment, planning, and rational management of water resources.

After more than twenty-five years (Gilbrich, 1991), the program's record includes more than fifty meetings, two dozen publications, more than one hundred experts participating in working groups and panels, and almost ten thousand people directly involved. in education and training. The program has brought global hydrological education and training channeled technology transfer in all its facets, from on-the-job training to formal post-graduate training, for technicians and professors, spanning both the scientific and engineering realms. One could say that hydrological education has been institutionalized in both developed and developing countries.

In general, this program shows a successful outcome in education and training, based on effective knowledge and technology transfer within the framework of cooperative associations between developed and developing countries. research institutions and at the same time award scholarships to students from the participating countries.

Water for People, WFP

WFP (AWWA, 1992), an international, nonprofit, nonsectarian, and nongovernmental organization, was founded by the American Water Works Association, AWWA, one of the world's largest water professional associations, with the aim of responding to the need for drinking water. Water and sanitation needs of the population of less developed countries. WFP's primary mission is to serve as a channel for volunteers and caring individuals to voice their concerns.

WFP includes the following services: a) volunteer teams from North America and 47 countries; b) Access to WATERNET, one of the world's largest water-based information networks; c) printed materials; d) education on drinking water and sanitation needs, including global water issues, for 7th to 9th grade students; e) contributions in kind.

This initiative is an example of alliances between individuals, companies, public services, organizations and authorities who come together as volunteers in education, training, information transfer, projects and solutions to specific regional and local problems. Funding harnesses the caring of people around the world, uniting them in a web of fulfilling contributions.

Computer databases featuring Latin American information

Several academic institutions in the United States have established specialized databases on Latin America. Three examples are INFO-SUR, LADB and CUIDES. Funding was initially provided by grants, which were then supplemented by user fees.

INFO-SOUTH Latin American Information System (UM, 1993), an online database created at the University of Miami, specializes in information on Latin American politics and economics. Since 1988, he has published journal articles, magazine articles, and newspaper articles for major publications in Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Summaries of publications in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Haitian Creole, among others, are available in English. It is updated weekly with around 10,000 new entries per year.

The Latin American Database (LADB) was created in 1985 at the University of New Mexico (UNM, 1992). The database aims to generate comprehensive, simple and timely information on regional business news and analysis for academics, business people, activists and government officials. It uses print media, radio, telecommunications and satellite technologies to report on events and developments in Latin America. The database is updated weekly and can be accessed via direct or affiliated networks (e.g. NewMexico Technet and Dialog).

Databases such as INFO-SUR and LADB provide communication links between information sources and a network of users with a particular interest in America. Although these databases do not contain information on the scientific and technological aspects of water resource projects, they do provide a supplemental resource and gateway for groups interested in economic issues. They may also be able to integrate their users with other customer groups.

An interesting initiative is CUIDES (Inter-American University Council for Economics and Social Development) created by the University of Arkansas (Miller, 1991). Since 1986, CUIDES has worked to establish a mechanism for promoting and facilitating the exchange of experience and technology related to water resources in America, a first step in creating a focus on water resource management experiences in America. The database is used to identify issues related to water resources and individuals and organizations with experience in water resources who are willing to share their experiences internationally. The next step includes exchanges, hemispheric conferences, seminars and the development of an innovative curriculum on water resources. A main goal is to understand forms of cooperative networking between universities, research institutes, companies and governments on an inter-American level.

Florida Engineering Education Delivery System (FEEDS)

FEEDS (FIU, 1993) is a government system through which engineering courses at graduate level are provided at industrial sites and collaborating centers via telecommunications. The system is an evolving approach to provide quality undergraduate and continuing education opportunities for engineers in their workplace in the state of Florida. The system was funded through a special effort by the Florida Legislature through the collaboration of all the universities in the State University System. The universities with postgraduate programs are primary centers, the other universities are collaborating centers. In addition, there are Industrial FEEDS Centers set up at industrial sites.

The system records graduate courses on videotapes, which are then distributed to those who enroll in the program. The most common mode is the videocassette. Lessons on campus are recorded and the videotapes are shipped by express mail to the off-campus location where students can view the recording at a convenient time in the presence of a tutor. A broadcast system is also available to provide courses to student groups via live television in classrooms at industrial and university sites.

This system offers an exciting experience in providing distance learning, training and technology transfer opportunities throughout the state of Florida. The savings of bringing people together without having to leave their own communities or workplaces offers an attractive alternative to traditional postgraduate education formats. Funding was provided by the State of Florida; Tuition and fees are the standard fees of the participating university.


In the last century and a half, communication technologies have brought about a fundamental transformation of society (Harasim, 1993). Alternatives to slow, long-distance communication involving location-dependent human encounters (e.g., drummers, messengers) have been replaced by fast, reliable computing technologies (Ives, 1991) that can simultaneously connect to people from locations around the world (e.g., telecommunications satellites).

The concept of the global village (Clarke, 1992), introduced by M. McLuhan in the 1960s, has become a reality that is being rapidly facilitated by global networks. Shortly after the implementation of the ARPANET, the first large packet-switched network, in 1969, e-mail was possible all over the world. Today, global networks transport an overwhelming amount of information to millions of users around the world. Thus, the technologies of the telephone, computer, and satellite have effectively combined to create new modes of human interaction and social activity. The impact is revolutionizing the fundamental concepts of speed and distance that affect the lives of every individual and community. For example, face-to-face meetings can now be replaced by meetings online or in cyberspace.

Global networks (Harasim, 1993) currently include information and facilities such as electronic mail, bulletin boards, and computer teleconferencing. Users connect locally, regionally and globally for business, research, education and social interaction. An individual can access a network using a personal computer connected through a modern computer network. The scope varies from an office area with a local area network (LAN) to a wide area network (WAN), the foundation of global networks. Its potential is great for e-mail, computer conferencing and televirtuality (Elbert, 1992).

Electronic mail or electronic mail provides a means for one-to-one or one-to-many communication. The most important global networks include the Internet, BITNET, USENET and FidoNet. They are known as forming aHeadquarters.

The Internet connects more than two thousand smaller networks. It provides e-mail, bulletin boards, databases, library catalogs, chat lines, multi-user domains, discussion groups, and access to supercomputers for scientists and engineers. BITNET (Because It's Time Network) connects academic institutions in more than thirty countries and offers mailing lists, email and short interactions. USENET (User's Network) is a worldwide network of volunteer members with affiliations with universities, government agencies, corporations and military bases. USENET offers a variety of newsgroups, or discussion groups. FidoNet is called the People's Network because it's mostly free for everyone to use. It connects six continents through email, public conferences and file transfers.

Computer conferencing offers groups with different interests the opportunity to communicate via text. Multimedia resources with graphics, videos and sound are readily available. Most interesting, but still evolving, is the potential of televirtuality, i. H. the sharing of a three-dimensional space over a telecommunications network.

In general, it is extremely important to understand the potential of networks to build a hemispheric network that facilitates the implementation of water resource projects in a sustainable development environment. Indeed, education, training and technology must consider the use of the new places for human interaction that are being created by the interconnection of computers and computer networks. A newly coined term refers to these new spaces as anetwork world(Harasim, 1993).


The development of a hemispheric network cannot take place without overcoming a number of barriers (Kasman, 1992; Maltezou, 1992). The barriers or differences can be broadly grouped into four main categories: political, cultural, technical and financial.

Political barriers are related to a lack of incentives among state or local leaders and officials to recognize the importance of water resource projects. This could be particularly difficult in countries or communities where a lack of education or other underlying priorities and interests impede effective government action and public participation.

Among the cultural barriers, an important point is the widespread use of English in today's networks. Unless potential users learn English and other common languages, or the information is effectively translated into as many languages ​​as possible, a very large proportion of the continental population will remain isolated. In the Americas, Spanish is definitely a priority language, followed by Portuguese.

The lack of formally educated people at all levels of knowledge will create a technical challenge for the correct interpretation and application of readily available scientific and technical information. Therefore, mechanisms to deliver education in traditional formats are needed to prepare the human resources capable of realizing the potential of networks.

As defined in Agenda 21, without the provision of financial resources, developing countries will not be able to achieve environmental and development goals. Importantly, the cost of inaction would far exceed the total financial cost of implementing Agenda 21 and would also limit options for future generations. Ultimately, it can be assumed that funding sources will meet the challenge. Sources include official development assistance from developed countries; the International Development Association; regional and sub-regional development banks; United Nations bodies and other organizations; private financing; and redistribution of tied resources to military resources, among others.


Recognizing that timely and reliable information is essential for good water resource management, a special meeting was organized within the framework of the VII World Water Resources Congress in May 1991 (IWRA, 1991). The meeting identified a number of critical needs that are critical to the development of robust water resource management information programs. Since education, training and technology transfer are direct expressions of information systems, these critical needs can be articulated in a list of basic goals for creating a hemispheric network as follows:

a) recognize that a network is an efficient and cost-effective alternative to bring people and information together;

b) connect the hemisphere through existing global networks in a network focused on water resource management;

c) To develop and improve network capacities in all nations of the continent, with due regard to political, cultural, technical and financial barriers;

d) make current and new information networkable and accessible to all levels of responsibility and need in each country;

e) establishing minimum quality and performance standards for information management and networking;

f) Enhance links between potential users, in particular policy makers and high-level professionals;

g) enhancing cooperation and collaboration between the governmental, private and academic sectors in all disciplines involved in water resource management; And

h) Ensure commitment at political and managerial level, as this is essential for the viability and sustainability of a network, exchange and inter-institutional, inter-regional and international exchange.

An essential prerequisite for achieving the goals outlined above is leadership, especially at the political level. In fact, executives bear a great deal of responsibility in the implementation of Agenda 21.

Consistent with the goals, the following tasks are presented as immediate steps to bring this Inter-American Dialogue into an Inter-American Network for Water Management:

a) establishment of a mechanism such as a task force, task force or steering committee to address the above objectives;

b) to promote the topic of networks in the national and international programs of congresses, conferences, meetings and workshops on water;

c) promoting cross-sectoral and inter-agency cooperation by providing fora bringing together sectors and agencies;

d) raise awareness among high-level policy makers of the value of networks at national, regional and international levels;

e) developing and enhancing networking at national and regional level through professional organizations and/or other means;

f) establish the policy of incorporating a network component as an integral part of all water resource initiatives/projects;

g) develop guidelines for the management of information on water resource management; And

h) establish a principle of free exchange of information.


In summary, a network is definitely needed to facilitate and enhance education, training and technology transfer opportunities in the field of water resource projects. This need must be taken into account if the hemisphere is to move towards proper management of water resources at the continental scale in the context of sustainable development.

The attempts and experiences of networking in Latin America through initiatives in the different nations of the continent are encouraging. They also form a starting reference for future networks. Global networks provide a valuable resource for communicating across America. They can be used by academia, industry, government and the private sector to initiate ongoing communication on water resource issues.

However, there are barriers that need to be recognized and positively confronted with solutions. These barriers are political, cultural, technical and financial. They manifest themselves in a lack of state priorities, language differences, educated and trained personnel and, above all, financial resources.

A set of goals and objectives are presented to focus efforts to facilitate the establishment of a network to be used in education, training and technology transfer. The effort should provide opportunities for discussion, alliances, and action in support of establishing a hemispheric network.

Finally, it is recommended that the following statements be included in the Miami Declaration:

Taking that into account
a) present generations in America have a responsibility to future generations; And
b) the nations of the Americas agreed on Agenda 21;
c) America contains rich and unique freshwater resources;
This is recommended
a) A continental network should be developed to facilitate and improve education, training and technology transfer in the field of water resources;

b) Nations must work to create the necessary policy incentives while breaking down cultural, technical and financial barriers in order for a network to realize its full potential.

c) Organize a working group, working group or steering committee whose main task is to develop a plan with goals and tasks to set up the network. The group or committee must have representatives from all participating nations of the Americas.

The attached attachment offers the opportunity to set up a first link and mailing list at Florida International University. An email address will be provided with a message to guarantee subscription.


AWWA, 1992. Water for the People. Brochure, American Water Works Association. Denver, Colo.

Clarke, AC 1992. How the World Was One: Beyond the Global Village. Batham Books, New York, New York.

Elbert, B. 1992. Network Strategies for Information Technology. Artech House, Norwood, Massachusetts.

FIU, 1993. Engineering/Professional Development FEEDS Approved Policies and Procedures. College of Engineering and Design, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.

Gilbrich, W. H. 1991. 25 Years UNESCO Hydrological Education Program under the DHI/IHP. UNESCO, Paris, France.

Harasim, L. M. 1993. Redes globales. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

IWRA, 1991. Information systems for water management. International Water 16:241-242.

Ives, S. R. 1991. Management von Informationsnetzwerken. Reed Business Publishing, England.

Kasman, M. S. 1992. Economic and legal barriers to the transfer of green technologies to developing countries. pp. 162–169 in UNESCO, ed., Environmentally Sound Technology for Sustainable Development, ATAS Bulletin, Number 7, United Nations Publications, New York.

Maltezou, S. P. 1992. Restrictions on the transfer of clean technologies to developing countries. Pages. 170-174 in UNESCO, ed., Environmentally Sound Technology for Sustainable Development, ATAS Bulletin, Number 7, United Nations, New York.

Miller, J. S. 1992. Education and training in hydrology and water resources: the CUIDES response. Pages. 277-284 in J.A. Reynal, ed., Hydrology and Water Resources Education, Training and Management, Water Resources Publications, Littleton, Colorado.

UM, 1993. INFO-SUR Latin American Information System. Brochure, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.

UNM, 1992. LADB, Latin American Database. Brochure, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

United Nations, 1993. The Global Partnership for Environment and Development: A Guide to Agenda 21. United Nations, New York, New York.


To continue the dialogue, Florida International University (FIU) created an email address or repository through the Environmental Engineering Program to build a stakeholder email list, H2ONET.

To subscribe to the mailing list, send a message to the following address:

In the body of the message (not in the subject of the message), enter the following
Subscribe to H2ONET.
Professors Fuentes, Tsihrintzis and Jaffe will manage the repository list and mail. Parties (ie agencies or individuals) can send messages in Spanish, Portuguese or English. On a case-by-case basis, professors are willing to discuss issues related to the environmental management of aquatic ecosystems, water resources, water quality, and American standards and regulations.

Priority regions in Latin America for water management

Phillip Z Kirpich1

1Consulting Engineer, World Bank (retired), 20 Island Ave. 1418, Miami Beach, FL 33139, United States

When considering the water management problems of the different regions of Latin America, it is beneficial to set relative priorities. There are two main reasons for this: (1) The urgency of water-dependent economic/social development is high in some regions. but less in others; and (2) talent and funds are scarce.

In this paper, the author analyzes the situation in seven regions that he considers high priority in the short or medium term. It also comes to some preliminary conclusions on other regions that could be priorities in the medium or long term.

The short descriptions of the seven regions contain provisional answers to the following questions:

·What steps are to be taken now?
·What can be learned from the history of the region up to the present?
·What help from outside the regions would be helpful?
Selection of regions

A particular region has been selected as a priority if the answers to the following three questions are positive:

·Is water control crucial for the sustainable development of the region?

·Does the region contain a large population compared to other regions in Latin America?

·Is it possible to make significant progress towards sustainable development in the medium term (10 to 20 years)?

The selected priority regions are:
·Mexico, the Gulf Coast;
·Columbien, the Cauca-Tal lord;
·Ecuador, Unteres Guayas-Tal;
·Brazil, Northeast;
·Peru, the coast;
·Chile, Santiago Region; And
·Kolumbien, Valles del Bajo Cauca and Magdalena.
The attached table gives details of the areas (gross and arable land) and population (regional and capital cities) and lists the affected entities (both national and international).

The author's judgments on the above questions are based on numerous visits to the listed regions. With the exception of Brazil, visits took the form of missions for the World Bank when acting as head of mission. The missions had a variety of purposes including: regional resource planning (as a prelude to planning specific projects), pre-assessment and evaluation of projects, and agricultural sector review.

In the case of Brazil, the missions, of which there were four, were on behalf of the Organization of American States (OAS); in two of them the author was a member of a multidisciplinary team that included economists and agronomists. In the case of Colombia, he lived in Cali between 1955 and 1962 when he served as chief engineer of the regional autonomous body (see description below); he also led two subsequent World Bank missions to the country. In the case of Peru, in addition to numerous missions for the World Bank, he was engaged by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) in Germany in 1987-88 to pre-assess a loan for the rehabilitation of a major irrigation project on the coast; However, despite several months of work, the project was canceled due to the current political instability.

Mexico: Gulf Coast

In Mexico, 5 million ha are irrigated; These countries are mainly located on the semi-arid Pacific coast and central plateau. There is little additional land that Mexico can open up for intensive irrigated agriculture. However, to meet its growing demand for food and fiber for both domestic consumption and export, it is imperative that Mexico increase its agricultural production.

The humid tropical Gulf Coast is severely underutilized. This region generally has good soils and abundant rainfall, generally exceeding 1,500 mm (Comisión del Plan Nacional Hidráulico 1981); see map 1. The first need is drainage, sometimes with and sometimes without flood defenses.

The main reason for the current underdevelopment is the prevailing land structure. The land is on large cattle ranches. Hacienda owners are permitted under Mexican law to use land with low carrying capacity per animal. The landowners, who hold a lot of political clout, are also opposed to water control projects (whether irrigation or drainage) because, under Mexican law, when such projects are funded by the state, the size of the property is generally limited to no larger. 10 or 20 ha.

Mexico completed a first version of a National Water Plan in 1975 with support from the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). In both the 1975 version and the updated (1981) version, attention was paid to the Gulf Coast. A program called the Integrated Rural Development Program for the Humid Tropics (PRODERITH) followed. The World Bank funded a significant portion of this, and implementation began in 1978. Technical assistance was provided by Indigenous Agricultural Research Agencies and the Soil Conservation Service. United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The first phase of PRODERITH, completed in 1984, covered 100,000 ha with 30,000 small farmers. The first phase was judged a success and a second phase is underway (Comisión del Plan Nacional Hidráulico 1985). It is understood that the program will need to be significantly accelerated, but this appears to be hampered by continued rancher resistance.

An earlier project in the region called PlanChontalpa was started in 1966 with financial support from the Inter-American Development Bank. It covered 75,000 ha. The project had mixed success, apparently due to inadequate planning for drainage and flood control.

Most of Mexico's oil fields are located on the Gulf Coast, and the region already has significant infrastructure in the form of roads and large dams (for hydroelectric power generation, flood control and, to some extent, irrigation).

How could foreign aid help Mexico achieve adequate sustainable development on its Gulf Coast? Considering that Mexico's engineers, agronomists and economists are top notch in terms of human capital, little help is needed in these areas. As mentioned above, the obstacles are mainly socio-economic (and thus also political) in nature. External help should be provided by citing examples of how these issues have been managed, such as in Valle del Cauca in Colombia (see below) and in Florida's water districts.

Due to their detailed knowledge of the Gulf Coast as well as the various water-related sectors of Mexico (in addition to agriculture, these are energy, domestic and industrial water supply and ecology), the Bank's employees should be contacted for cooperation.

Colombia: Upper Cauca Valley

The Regional Autonomous Body of Cauca is also known as the CVC, these are the initials of Cauca, Valle and Caldas, the three relevant departments (provinces) of Colombia. When CVC was formed in 1954, the idea was that it would function as a river basin authority, similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in the United States. David Lilientahl, a former director of TVA, was brought in to advise CVC.

To fund its initial operations, CVC was able to obtain national and provincial approval for a 4 per thousand property tax, despite opposition from some of the valley's big landowners. Energy suppliers also resisted because they felt threatened. However, the more progressive view prevailed, including many large landowners (Posada and Posada 1966). CVC is now seen as a role model by many Latin American experts.

During the 1960s and 1970s, CVC was able to undertake several notable and large-scale projects and receive funding from domestic and international sources, including the World Bank and the Japanese government. Conservation; a high-voltage transmission network; a 5,000ha drainage and flood control project near Cali that more than doubled the land available for development; and an 11,200 ha irrigation and drainage project funded by the Colombian Institute for Agrarian Reform (INCORA) (Kirpich and Ospina 1959). See map 2.

In 1955, Cali was a city of about 250,000 people. Today the population exceeds 1,600,000. Like many other Latin American cities, Cali's growth was explosive due to immigration from the rural poor. Unsurprisingly, sanitation and waste disposal problems have arisen (Ridgley 1989).

Existing dams offer some level of flood protection, but this needs to be supplemented with dikes, as in Cali. Poor drainage from low-lying areas also requires further attention. Near the town of Buga, a large lake used as a refuge for migratory birds needs improvement and preservation. See map 3.

The future development of the valley requires more detailed studies that are becoming more complex than before due to competing demands for water, the need to protect water quality, and environmental concerns. The latter includes the sanctuary of birds and the disposal of agricultural fertilizer and pesticide waste from a large number of sugar mills and from industry, including a large paper mill and a large tire factory, both near Cali.

The cultivation picture in the fertile Valle del Cauca must be improved in the medium and long term. Much of the land is still used for low-intensity livestock farming, and the large share of sugar cane, a major water user, needs to be reduced. The large international center for agricultural research CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) in the Alto Valle del Cauca could help determine the form and timing of changes in cropping patterns.

CVC has been in contact with the agencies listed in the table and will no doubt continue to do so. In the case of international banks, the departments of these banks dealing with the environment and agriculture should be contacted in particular. As indicated above, the Valle del Alto Cauca in Colombia can be cited as an example whose characteristics can be copied in many other parts of Latin America.

Ecuador: Unteres Guayas-Tal

Ecuador has two main agricultural regions: the Sierra and the Coast. The small valleys of the mountains are fully exploited. The coastal plains, which lie mainly in the delta of the Guayas River, are hardly used. See maps 4 and 5.

The country's two main urban centers are Quito, the capital in the Sierra, and Guayaquil, the country's main port. With more than a million inhabitants, the latter is about 50% larger than Quito. Both cities, but above all Guayaquil, are growing rapidly due to the immigration of the poor rural population.

The Guayas Basin Development Studies Commission (CEDEGE) has been active since around 1970. In the early 1970s, CEDEGE directors promoted the construction of the Daule Peripa Dam, which they claimed would bring great benefits to the lower Guayas Valley. and on the neighboring but distant Santa Helena peninsula, where rainfall is only about 200 mm (compared to about 1500 mm in the lower Guayas). CEDEGE applied to the World Bank for funding for the Daule Peripa Dam, but was turned down on the grounds that it would be much more beneficial to focus on drainage and flood control issues in the lower Guayas Valley and, at a later date, on the water for the Irrigation could be obtained from the groundwater. However, CEDEGE persevered and was able to secure funding for Daule-Peripa from the Inter-American Development Bank.

The Daule-Peripa Dam was completed, but drainage and flooding remained severe. The continued construction of major roads through the region, built with no regard for drainage needs, has exacerbated drainage problems. The clearing of important mangroves for the construction of crab ponds poses another serious environmental problem.

In 1987, a Dutch consultancy started work on a feasibility study with a grant from the Dutch government. In previous years, time had been lost due to disagreements between CEDEGE and the Ecuadorian Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INERHI), mainly over which body would be responsible for the study. The completion of the study, scheduled for 1988, was not reached until 1990; The delay was partly due to environmental concerns, which led to the creation of an Environmental Impact Statement.

The project would represent a first phase development of the Lower Guayas Valley. The project would provide 184,000 ha of flood protection including: drainage improvement works for 60,500 ha; an agricultural development plan for around 3,300 smallholders (less than 10 ha) with provisions for investing in farms and strengthening smallholder organizations; and various environmental and conservation initiatives.

The World Bank and the Dutch government are expected to fund about two-thirds of the total cost of the project (Ochs and Wittenberg 1992).

Brazil: The Northeast

Northeast Brazil (see map 5) covers a vast area, three times the size of France. One-fifth the area of ​​all of Brazil, the Northeast region has a population of about 46,000,000, or about 30% of Brazil's population of 158,000,000 (1991).

The region is prone to drought. The 1992-93 drought is the worst in 40 years (Economist 1993). See Map 6. In Pernambuco, the driest of the eight states in the region, the reservoirs have not been filled since the 1960s. The drought has affected not only the amount of water but also the quality of the water and caused the spread of diseases. including cholera. The cattle also suffer greatly.

In times of drought, families used to leave the region to harvest rubber trees in the Amazon rainforest, or migrate to industrial cities in the south like Sao Paulo. These sales opportunities no longer exist, instead the poor rural population is moving to the cities and communities in the region, where slums are spreading.

An exception is the Sao Francisco Valley, located in the center of the region. Significant dams and reservoirs were built, mainly to generate electricity but with positive side effects of flood control and irrigation. The World Bank has funded a polder-like project in the Sao Francisco river delta. The author visited the region in 1979 on behalf of the OAS while preparing guidelines for long-term studies of the Sao Francisco River Basin. He was told at the time that the goal was to reach 819,000 ha of irrigation by the year 2000, although a more realistic target would be 500,000 ha.

The Northeast region clearly continues to be a serious problem for Brazilian politicians and planners. Their solution is complicated by the great disparity in property size, high levels of illiteracy, and disparate physical conditions. Most of the region is semi-arid to arid, but there are sub-regions that suffer from flooding and poor drainage. In the semi-arid parts of the region, significant water availability studies were initiated only for the Sao Francisco River basin. Elsewhere, there is only anecdotal evidence that water, whether from surface or underground sources, is likely to be in short supply.

Brazilian water resource planners could benefit from efforts in other parts of the world under similar physical and socioeconomic conditions, of which, unfortunately, there are no examples in America. Examples of appropriate size and reach may be found in China and India.

All agencies listed in the table have a strong interest in developing Northeast Brazil. UNDP in particular should be invited to play a key role in guiding and funding the many studies and negotiations required for sound development.

Peru: The Coast

La Selva (Amazon rainforest) has practically no agricultural value. The Sierra (mountains) have some (limited) value but are almost completely exploited. On the border between the Sierra and the Jungle, there is an area dedicated to the cultivation of coca, the main source of cocaine that ends up on the streets of the cities of the United States.

Coastal Peru supplies more than 70% of Peru's commercialized agriculture and has absorbed more than two-thirds of public sector investment in agriculture over the past two decades. There are about 750,000 ha of irrigated land on the coast, of which between a third and half suffer from varying degrees of excessive salinity and waterlogging due to poor drainage and water abuse.

Correcting this situation and halting further deterioration requires: (a) a remediation program to remove key infrastructure bottlenecks (essentially drainage works); and (b) the establishment of Irrigation District Authorities in rehabilitated areas to maintain the effectiveness of previous investments and to conduct effective operation and maintenance.

At the same time as the rehabilitation of the irrigated coastal areas, various structural reform measures are urgently needed, according to various observers. These include:

1. Changing the role of cooperatives (especially sugar cooperatives from producer to service cooperatives).

2. Remove the uncertainties that still exist regarding the agrarian reform that has greatly reduced the role of the private sector.

3. Improving the standards of the Agrarian Bank of Peru, through which negative interest rates bring exceptional gains to a privileged few.

As part of the rehabilitation effort, possible beneficial changes in cultivation patterns should be considered. The area earmarked for rice has increased significantly in recent years, which is a factor leading to water shortages for other crops; To make matters worse, the consumption of rice (including wheat) is subsidized in favor of the urban population. The cultivation of maize (maize), which uses less water than rice, could increase on the coast. Sugar production has suffered from deteriorating cane quality; area harvested decreased from 55,000 in 1975 to 38,000 in 1981; it is possible that the decline in yield was partly caused by the worsening of the drainage situation.

Some irrigation rehabilitation projects were approved by the World Bank in the late 1970s while the author was still there. Relations between Peru and the World Bank deteriorated thereafter but are now on the mend.

Most likely, pressure from local interest groups to build gigantic trans-Andean water diversion projects will continue. One example is the long-discussed Majes project, which is believed to benefit properties near the city of Arequipa. Such pressure must be resisted as the priority for Peru must be to rehabilitate its existing irrigation projects and ensure proper operation and use.

In the mid-1970s, the World Bank provided Peru with some assistance in the form of technical assistance for the study of a large hydroelectric complex in the Andes east of Lima, which would also benefit the city of Lima's domestic water supply.

Peru is important to the United States for several reasons:

·It is an important source of medicines. Its precarious social and economic conditions, exploited by the Shining Path guerrillas, were a source of serious political instability in the hemisphere.

·Could be an important market for US exports

Aid to Peru in the field of water resources could significantly help the country to solve its social and economic problems. All agencies listed in the table are expected to cooperate.

Chile: Region Santiago

In the mid-1970s, the World Bank was asked to help with water problems in the Santiago region. There was competition for the scarce water between use for domestic water supply and irrigation. Domestic sewage was used for irrigation, leading to health problems.

After two trips to the country led by the author, the bank agreed to fund a feasibility study conducted by a US consulting firm.

The region to which the three cities listed in the table belong is quite complex from a water management point of view, and it is doubtful whether water-related problems have been fully or sufficiently solved. According to the UN, quoted in a recent report (Bartone 1990), the population of the Santiago metropolitan area was 4.2 million in 1985 and is expected to reach 5.3 million in 2000.

Colombia: Lower Cauca/Magdalena Valleys

Despite its size, Colombia has limited areas of good to high quality land available for agriculture. In the Bajo Cauca/Magdalena valleys there are large areas that are already of good quality or that can be artificially raised to this level, ie through flood control and drainage works. Of course, when planning such works, it would be imperative to consider the environmental features in terms of wildlife and pollution.

Some of these previously limited developments have already taken place not far from the Caribbean port cities of Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta. (The upper part of the region is adjacent to Medellin, Colombia's second largest city with a population of 2.2 million.) that purpose. On this occasion, the World Bank also sent a mission led by the author.

A good source of information on the current state of the region would be Carlos S. Ospina, head of a consulting company INGETEC in Bogotá. Mr. Ospina is a distinguished Colombian engineer who was recently recognized by the American Society of Civil Engineers and is familiar with all aspects of water resource planning in Colombia.

other regions

Other regions will certainly be suggested, but should not have a relatively high priority, at least in the short term. These are briefly described in the rest of this document.

Brazil: The Pantanal

This vast wetland of 469,000 km2It's about 40 times larger than the Everglades! Half of the Pantanal is in a remote corner of southwestern Brazil, and the other half is in Paraguay (see map 7). Boasting rich resources in terms of wildlife, livestock, minerals and potentially highly productive agriculture, the Pantanal spans a proposed pipeline connecting major natural gas fields in Bolivia to Brazil's industrial hubs.

The author became familiar with the Pantanal through his participation in a two-week think tank mission to the region in Brazil for the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1976. This was followed by an OAS report outlining a series of surveys and studies to be carried out. Long isolated from the rest of Brazil, the Pantanal is home to vast cattle ranches, some covering as much as 50,000 hectares. The pattern of land tenure is clearly skewed:

plot size


in hectares

when and


100 a 1,000



1.000 bis 10.000



more than 10,000



Flooding occurs annually in many areas for up to 6 months. Deep floods of up to 5 m occur about every 7 years. There are 3 large lakes with a total area of ​​75,000 ha.

The proliferation of wildlife, mineral resources, and the potential use of much of the region for intensive agriculture make the Pantanal of great long-term interest to Brazil, Paraguay, and the world at large. However, since its population is small and no significant development is expected in the short or medium term, it seems doubtful whether the Pantanal is a priority for the moment.

Venezuela, Orinoco-Flussdelta

The Orinoco, one of South America's great rivers, has great potential for hydroelectric power and ultimately for agriculture. But it is sparsely populated and should therefore not be prioritized at this time. On the other hand, there is no doubt that studies leading to sustainable development in the long term and at appropriate stages should be pursued, for which the advice of various international organizations such as UNDP and FAO should be sought.


The affected areas and populations are generally small. The Dominican Republic might be an exception. There is already a major irrigation project, the Yaque del Norte, and the development of the eastern part of the Republic, the Yuna River Basin, is also proposed. The key to sustainable and economic development appears to be the commercialization of high value crops for Puerto Rico and the United States. Cuba has extensive irrigated areas and could be of interest once normal international relations are established.

Central America, Caribbean Coast

This large area is similar to the Gulf Coast of Mexico, but the affected population is relatively small.

Central America, urban regions

Areas bordering several of the largest cities could be candidates. In Nicaragua, an area known as Tuma Viejo east of Managua and north of Lake Nicaragua was surveyed by the author in 1965 and appeared promising for intensive irrigation agriculture.

Holistic planning approach

Planning large-scale water resource development plans, be they new or modified existing ones, is a complex process. The complexity is not only caused by increasing population pressure and scarcity of resources. Cultural and ecological factors are much, much more important today than, for example, 40 or 50 years ago.

AholisticA planning approach is now required (Kirpich 1993) that takes all relevant factors into account. This approach, while time-consuming, is now essential. Of course, the planner's judgment must be exercised in selecting the relevant factors, with less weight being given to the less relevant factors.


Bartone, CW 1990. Water Quality and Urbanization in Latin America. Agua Internacional, Vol. 15, No. 1.

1981 National Hydraulic Plan Commission. p. 19. 1981 National Hydraulic Plan. Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources, Mexico City.

Commission of the National Hydraulic Plan 1985. The Integrated Rural Development Program for the Wet Tropics (PRODERITH); First stage, evaluation 1978-84. Minister of Agriculture and Hydraulic Resources, Mexico City.

Economist (The) 1993. 3 April issue. page 46.

Kirpich, P.Z. and Ospina, C.S. 1959. Flood control aspects of the development of the Valle del Cauca. Journal of Hydraulics Division, September 1959. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.

Kirpich, P.Z. 1993. Holistic Approach to Irrigation Management in Developing Countries. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering, March/April 1993. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.

Ochs, W. and Wittenberg P. 1992. The Lower Guayas Drainage and Flood Control Project. Pages. 275-289 in Proceedings of the '92 Water Forum, American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.

Posada F., A.J. and Inn of Jeanne. 1966. The CVC: A Challenge to Underdevelopment and Traditionalism. Third World Editions, Bogota, Colombia.

Ridgley, M.A. 1989. Wasser- und Stadtgebietsplanung in Cali, Kolumbien. Journal of Water Resource Planning and Management, November 1989. American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.


Regional Area (thousands of hectares)

regional population
(approximately, miles)

capital Cities

approx. population

Agencies involved


cultivable (a)



In total

in thousands

Mexico: Gulf Coast






true cross


Minister of Agriculture and Resources

help me


Hydraulics (SARH), Mexico City



Banco Mundial, Washington

Colombia: Upper Cauca Valley








Regional Autonomous Society of Cauca, Cali



Combian Institute for Agrarian Reform



(INCORA), Bogota



Banco Mundial, Washington



International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), Buga

Inter-American Development Bank, Washington

Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO), Washington

Ecuador: Unteres Guayas-Tal








Study Commission for the Development of the Guayas Basin (CEDEGE), Guayaquil

Ecuadorian Institute of Hydraulic Resources (INEHRI), Quito

Banco Mundial, Washington

Inter-American Development Bank, Washington

Peru: The Coast





Banco Mundial, Washington

Inter-American Development Bank, Washington

Brazil: Northeast


3.000 (b)




the saviour


Development Oversight Northeast



(SUDENE), Brasilia and Recife



National Directorate of Sanitary Works

Why Louis?


(DNOS), Brazil



Sao Valley Development Company



Franziskus (CODEVASF)

João Pessoa


San Francisco Hydro Electric Company (CHESF)

OEA, Washington

Banco Mundial, Washington

Inter-American Development Bank, Washington

FAO, Roma

UNDP, NewYork

Chile: Region Santiago






Banco Mundial, Washington

Viña del Mar


Inter-American Development Bank, Washington



OMS, Washington

Colombia: Lower Cauca/Magdalena Valleys



Banco Mundial, Washington



Inter-American Development Bank




Santa Marta


(a) Land with medium to high agricultural potential, available mainly throughwater control works(some combinations of works for flood control, drainage and irrigation) moreManagement(from water control works, agricultural support services and institutional changes, including land tenure regulation).

(b) Extremely preliminary figure. The Sao Francisco river valley alone covers more than 800,000 hectares (see text).

Hydrometeorological networks and data management for the prevention of natural disasters in Central America

Medardo Molina, Eladio Zárate and Nabil Kawas1

1World Meteorological Organization, Regional Committee for Water Resources bzw. National Meteorological Service (Honduras). Adresse: UNDP/PO Box 4540, San José, Costa Rica.

This work addresses the meteorological and hydrological networks of the Central American Isthmus and their ability to provide information for the management of Atmospheric Phenomena Induced Disasters (DIAP).

The Central American Isthmus, due to its geographical and topographical location, is very vulnerable to the effects of hurricanes, cold fronts, tornadoes, tropical waves and other atmospheric and hydrological phenomena. The most visible and striking manifestation of these phenomena is almost always flooding, resulting from a combination of weather, basin and river conditions. Although man influences the current conditions, he cannot do anything about the weather. However, you can quantify them and study their probabilistic properties to understand them and ultimately develop preventive measures that mitigate the negative effects of DIAPs. Such a quantification is only possible if there is a network with well-located and well-designed stations.

This document contains:

1. A probabilistic analysis of the occurrence of hurricanes, tropical storms and floods, adopting a Poisson distribution to quantitatively estimate the risks these events pose to the Isthmus.

2. A description of the current capacity of the network to observe atmospheric phenomena in Central America, including its geographical and temporal distribution.

3. Description of present and future meteorological telecommunications systems (satellite based) connecting the Isthmus to the rest of the world.

4. Discussing the relationship between disaster preparedness systems and the availability of meteorological information to predict disasters, particularly in relation to the actions that need to be taken before a disaster occurs.

5. Description of the international cooperation and regional integration mechanisms that currently exist and contribute to the prevention and mitigation of DIAP.

6. Conclusions and recommendations.


2.1. Hurricanes and Tropical Storms in Central America

From 1887 to 1993, 33 hurricanes and 34 tropical storms passed through the isthmus (Lizano, 1993; Belize, 1993). The damage caused by these events is enormous, the most recent example being Hurricane Joan (October 1988) which virtually leveled the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, causing numerous deaths and millions of dollars in economic losses.

In order to have a probabilistic idea of ​​the occurrence of these seven events, the following table was created, assuming a Poisson distribution (Benjamin, 1970; Molina, 1986; Dienstt, 1992):


Number of events/year


Tropical Storms

hurricanes or tropical storms
























We can see that, for example, the probability of having zero hurricanes or zero tropical storms in a year is 72.8% and 73.5%, respectively, the probability of having one or more hurricanes or one or more tropical storms, 27.2% and 26.5%. or. . On the other hand, if we consider the occurrence of one of these events, the probability of zero events is 48.7% and the probability of observing one or more events is 51.3%, since the damage caused by any of these storms is always catastrophic are. We see that the economic and social risks of these events are very high.

2.2. Floods in Central America

The most obvious example of a DIAP is a flood. For this reason, a partial compilation of the floods observed in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama has been made to show the extent of this risk in the lives of Central American countries.

The table below shows some interesting numbers.


(Video) SDG 6 Special Event Virtual Dialogue


Costa Rica (Reference 6)

El Salvador (Ref.5)

Panama (Ref.14)




no data











no data






We see that in 40 years Costa Rica had 88 floods, El Salvador had 37 floods in 30 years, and Panama had 25 floods in 30 years. As with storms, assuming a Poisson distribution, the following flood probabilities can be estimated:


Number of events/year

Costa Rica

The saviour


































We can see that, for example, the probability of zero flooding in one year in Costa Rica is only 11%. In contrast, Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama have 89%, 70.8%, and 56.4% chances of one or more floods, respectively. These numbers show that the risk of flooding in this region is even greater than the risk of hurricanes or tropical storms. The floods considered are only the largest, and in general they have caused deaths, significant property damage, and disruption to countries' economic progress.

For example, the November 4, 1966 floods in Panama caused 60 deaths, destroyed 36 cities, and lost more than $1.5 million. Similarly, the June 7, 1973 floods in Río Grande San Miguel, El Salvador caused at least three deaths and extensive damage to the area's infrastructure. In Costa Rica, because it is the most vulnerable, the number of deaths is also higher. Over the past two decades, the 1988, 1980, 1979, 1978, and 1972 floods claimed a total of 14 lives in Costa Rica.


3.1. Geographical and temporal concept

Meteorological phenomena arise, develop and resolve in different periods of time. This property is called the temporal scale of phenomena. The other feature is that each phenomenon has its own geographic dimension called geographic scale.

Using these two properties, an isolated thundercloud would have a time scale of about two hours and a geographic extent of a few square kilometers; but a hurricane's time scale spans several days, even weeks, and its particular geographic scale spans thousands of square kilometers. Below is a list of the phenomena affecting the isthmus and its relationship to its temporal and geographic scale:




Drought across the isthmus caused by El Niño

about 1.5 years

Tropical Pacific and other extratropical areas

hurricanes and tropical storms

days or weeks

thousands of square kilometers

cold fronts

days or weeks

thousands of square kilometers



tens of square kilometers

isolated thunderstorm


tens of square kilometers

This table implies that the isthmus' hydrometeorological networks must respond to the international need to observe large phenomena such as El Niño, hurricanes, and cold fronts while providing timely detection of smaller local phenomena such as thunderstorms. Therefore, the hydrometeorological observation networks must be structured from the smallest to the largest phenomena, and the isthmus must restructure its networks to quantify the phenomena according to their magnitude.

The following measures are recommended:

1. Redesigning existing networks by moving instrumentation from densely populated areas to areas with poor coverage.

2. Introduction of modern observation technologies to enable rapid availability of information for timely decisions.

3. Locate new stations using the temporal and geographic concept of the phenomena to be observed.

4. Linking the hydro-meteorological network to the database to allow easy and fast storage and access to the data.

5. Educate governments and society that hydrometeorological observations are a continuous and unlimited process.

3.2. observation networks

They allow the timely detection of atmospheric phenomena and their effects over time. These networks consist of satellite image receiving stations, radar, radio sound stations (parent) and conventional and automated surface stations. Each of these networks has a different function.

For example, high-resolution satellite imagery can warn the isthmus when a hurricane enters the Caribbean Sea. Coastal radars define in detail the characteristics of the hurricane when it is still two hundred miles offshore, while showing in detail the behavior of rain, currents and winds along the hurricane's path.

Historically, the installation of networks in the isthmus has not been done scientifically since the beginning of the last century. The placement of the instruments was based on logistical reasons or on special interests, so the first networks were installed along railroads, main roads and hydroelectric or agricultural (banana) development areas. The result is that small areas are covered by dense meshes, while large and important areas remain uncovered. Below is a brief description of each network.

A. Network of meteorological stations receiving satellite imagery

A weather satellite image receiving station technology enables the largest geographic view. The image of the entire isthmus and its surroundings can be captured in a few minutes, and viewing the Earth's atmosphere takes about an hour. This network is the pillar of meteorological surveillance of the isthmus, as it allows the timely detection of atmospheric phenomena that DIAPs can generate. So far, only Panama has such a station. The remaining countries receive facsimile photos from the World Weather Center in Washington, D.C. These photos have poor resolution. The FINNIDA project (Finnida, 1993) funded the installation of two of these high-resolution stations in 1994: one for Guatemala and the other for Costa Rica. The cost of this type of station is about $120,000.

B. Radar network

Weather radar is an instrument for monitoring the atmosphere and can provide detailed information up to a radius of 500 kilometers if there are no mountains in the way. This information is more accurate than satellite imagery. For example, radar provides a good approximation of areas of heavy rain, thunderstorms, wind, and other phenomena. With the exception of the radar installed in Belize, the rest of the isthmus is left unprotected in this way. The ideal minimum network in the isthmus for monitoring hurricanes, tropical storms in both oceans, and cold fronts from the north would be stations in Panama, on the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua, on the Pacific coast of Guatemala, and Honduras. A radar station costs about $1,000,000.

C. Network of Radiophonic Sound Stations at altitude

Measuring wind, atmospheric pressure, humidity and other variables from the ground up to 30 kilometers away is very important for predicting and tracking severe weather conditions. For Central America, these measures apply within a radius of 300 kilometers. There are four of these stations on the Isthmus in Balboa, Panama, San Jose, Costa Rica, Tegucigalpa, Honduras and Guatemala City. The FINNIDA project delivered new equipment to Costa Rica and will install a similar one in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. However, the old stations in Panama, Honduras and Guatemala and the new ones needed for Panama and Belize are unfunded. The cost of one device is about $300,000.

D. Conventional and intelligent hydrometeorological surface network

These are the most concentrated networks in the region. They are on the ground, measuring atmospheric variables that are heavily influenced by physiography, and describing the conditions of about ten square kilometers.

However, in relation to DIAPs, they are very important because they provide information that allows us to know the behavior of atmospheric phenomena that we see in satellite and radar images. Today, thanks to modern electronics and communication technologies, these stations can operate without staff in remote areas. That is why they are called Smart Stations.

Honduras and Panama were the first to use this technology seven years ago. The FINNIDA project is renovating these stations and installing three new ones: two in Belize and one on Cocos Island in the Pacific Ocean of Costa Rica. The project has allocated a significant amount of money to expand and improve these conventional networks.

E. Real-time telemetry networks

Real time means instant access to measurements reported from the field in the decision center. Hydrometeorological telemetry is used to forecast heavy rainfall, flooding, dangerous lake levels and drought trends. In our region, only Panama and Costa Rica have installed telemetry networks in basins that generate hydroelectric power. The rest of the isthmus is unprotected due to the absence of these stations.

F. Ocean Data Network

With few exceptions, the isthmus does not conduct oceanic parametric observations. This is a serious problem because it is well known that the influence of the oceans on the atmospheric process is crucial, especially in the case of a small piece of land sandwiched between two oceans, like the isthmus.


4.1. CEMET

This telecommunications network enables the exchange of meteorological information between the countries of the region and is part of the Global Telecommunications System of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO, 1988). This system has many problems because it is microwave based and a unidirectional system. where the failure of one point disrupts the entire system.

4.2. satellite telecommunications system

This system uses a satellite to transmit and receive weather information according to W.M.O. Standards It is a bi-directional multi-point system that will allow the exchange of information between countries. (OMM, 1992) This system will replace CEMET and become operational around April 1994.


5.1. civil protection

This implies a series of measures that prevent the negative effects of atmospheric phenomena on the ground and prevent them from becoming disasters (CNE, 1992). Effective prevention includes:

·action strategies.
The emergency protection authorities in the individual countries are responsible for implementing these activities. The role of meteorological services is to provide information that allows the disaster preparedness team to plan their strategies before the emergency occurs. This is done through forecasts. Pre-emergency actions include: 1) warning the public of the impending disaster, and 2) explaining how to protect their lives and property. The accuracy of the forecast depends on the accuracy of the information based on the density of the networks observing the meteorological and hydrological phenomena.

A. Preparedness for tropical storms, hurricanes or typhoons

The information provided by the following systems is important:

·Weather satellite imagery
·conventional ground stations
·ships and airplanes
For example, the information provided by all of these sources enabled Jamaica during Hurricane Gilbert (12 , 1989).

B. Prevention of flood disasters

These include (Smith, 1989) measures such as flood maps, runoff analysis and detailed knowledge of watershed and precipitation characteristics. The isthmus does not have a full flood prevention system, but DANIDA (Danida, 1993) provides flood forecast software and a computer hardware package that would allow flood forecasting. However, this project needs to be complemented by the installation of telemetry systems, which would then be an excellent means of reducing flood damage. Panama, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica are already planning to install telemetry systems in their flood prone areas. In this sense, the FINNIDA project has limited its activities to the installation and training of the hydrograph simulation model known as HEC1 and the water surface profile model known as HEC2.

5.2. International cooperation

Since a disaster knows no borders and, like a hurricane, can affect very large regions, international cooperation in disaster risk management is essential. Luckily, the Central American region is part of a global weather network called World Weather Watch and Global Telecommunication System (GTS), which allows for instant and systematic sharing of weather information.

Regarding flooding, expectations focus on the DANIDA project, which is expected to be complemented by a telemetric system that will allow monitoring of flooding events.

On the other hand, the United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction has made a commitment to coordinate the efforts of emergency management agencies.

In addition, CEPREDENAC, the Center for Natural Disaster Prevention in Central America, coordinates emergency response and is based in Guatemala City. On the other hand, the Regional Committee for Hydraulic Resources (CRRH), based in Costa Rica, brings together all the countries of the Isthmus and coordinates the actions of their water resource management agencies and meteorological services in terms of data management, training and research.

Finally, mention that the United States Weather Service (Smith, 1989) has shown how the loss of life from hurricanes has been drastically reduced (8,100 in 1900-1910 to 160 in 1980-1987). Coast. (Florida: from less than one million to nine million over the same period) for the development of storm tracking technologies, telecommunications, public education and warning systems.

5.3. Data control and prevention of DIAPs

Good data management means the efficient use of human resources, data processing, information systems, information technology and international cooperation. We are the W.M.O. for introducing this approach 30 years ago, which if used correctly is a means of disaster prevention. It enables the timely collection of relevant information from the right source. It also implies the timely dissemination of processed information, and this is what prevention is all about.

Finally, it should be noted that the FINNIDA project will make the management and processing of atmospheric data in Central America more efficient, which will have a positive impact on regional disaster risk reduction measures.


1. The Central American Isthmus is an area of ​​high risk of disasters caused by atmospheric phenomena. Loss of life and property is an annual event in the region.

2. The network of stations for observing atmospheric phenomena, such as radar, radio sound, automatic stations, is crucial to make accurate predictions and reduce the negative impact of DIAPs.

3. Many international development agencies are involved in projects to produce and disseminate meteorological information that will help reduce the frequency of DIAPs.

4. On the other hand, international cooperation agencies and institutions are working to promote regional integration and cooperation to develop technology that mitigates the damage caused by DIAPs.

5. However, given the complexity of the geographical environment, the low level of economic development and the political and social problems affecting the region, there are still many tasks to be done, many problems to be solved and many obstacles to be overcome.

6. Therefore, it is recommended that the international community continue its support and assistance to CA countries in their efforts to produce reliable meteorological and hydrological information that will enable them to manage their DIAPs more efficiently.


1. Served, PB, W. Huber. Analysis of hydrology and floodplains. Addison-Wesley Pub. Co. New York, 1992.

2. Belize National Weather Service Database. Tropical cyclones passing within 100 N MI of Belize International Airport Station. 17.5 N, 88. 3W. June.

3. Belize National Weather Service. Monthly weather report. volume 1, No. 5, September 1993.

4. Benjamin, J., C.A. Cornell. Probability, statistics and decisions for civil engineers. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1970.

5. Meteorology and Hydrology Center of El Salvador. Information on flooding in El Salvador (personal communication). Sep 1993.

6. National Emergency Commission, General Compendium on Disasters. San José, 1992.

7. Danish Hydraulic Institute. Mathematical Modeling for Real-Time Flood Forecasting and Flood Control in Central America, Preliminary Startup Report. Copenhagen, March 1993.

8. FINNIDA, Project for the Improvement and Rehabilitation of the Meteorological and Hydrological Services of the CA Isthmus, Projektarbeitsplan, Juli 1993-Juni 1994. San José, Juli 1993.

9. Lizano, O.G. Hurricane and tropical storm trajectories in the Central American Isthmus. University of Costa Rica (personal communication). 1993

10. Molina, M., C. Gray. Probability distribution of hurricanes affecting Jamaica. Kingston, 1986.

11. Office of Disaster Preparedness. Hurricane Gilbert. Kingston, Jamaica, December 1988.

12. WMO. Protection of the atmosphere, oceans and water resources. Geneva 1992.

13th WMO. The World Weather Clock. Geneva, 1988.

14. Rodriguez, Salvador. Most significant floods in the Republic of Panama. Technological University of Panama, (personal communication), Panama, September 1993.

15. Smith, D.K. Prevention of natural disasters and the contribution of meteorological and hydrological services, World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, 1989.

16. World Meteorological Organization. GTS DM. Expert meeting on the implementation and operation of satellite-based telecommunications systems. final report. Miami, Fla. October 1992.

Water management for the 21st century

Albert Muniz, PE, J.I. Garcia-Bengochea, Ph.D., P.E., William B. Ziegler, P.E., R. David Pyne, P.E.1

1CH2M Hill, 800 Fairway Drive, Suite350, Deerfield Beach, Florida 33441, EE. UU.

Water is probably the most important of our natural resources because we cannot live without it. In view of the growing world population, a further increase in the demand for water resources is to be expected. Competing and conflicting demands on our water supply have raised serious concerns about the long-term reliability of our water resources. Traditional water systems are being pressured by increased domestic, industrial, agricultural and environmental demands. In addition, physical, regulatory, and financial constraints complicate our ability to meet future demands. The three components that will be necessary to adequately meet tomorrow's water needs include:

·Prudent water management
·Resource protection through regulations
·Implementation of new innovative technologies.
water management

With ever-increasing demand for our water resources throughout Florida, prudent water management practices have become, and will continue to be, essential to conserving these resources for domestic, industrial, agricultural and environmental needs. In most cases, the real problem is not the lack of water, but the conflicting and competing demands of water policies, infrastructure and administrative bodies. Resolving these demands is politically complex and sometimes creates the impression that water management is inadequate or that there is not enough water available. Once this occurs, there is often an urgent need to identify new resources. This situation can be eliminated or postponed if existing resources are managed efficiently.

Prudent water management practices include conserving existing resources (groundwater and surface water) and balancing them with resources that are sometimes overlooked, such as seasonal flooding or reclaimed water, regulating resource use, and implementing new innovative technologies.

South Florida's topography is characterized by low elevations, flat terrain, and a widespread presence of wetlands. In the past, water management focused on flood control until, in recent years, a severe drought deteriorated the water supply and surface water quality to such an extent that water treatment had to be changed. South Florida water levels have been maintained with control structures throughout the drainage canal system. These channels recharge the shallow aquifer, eventually emptying into the Atlantic Ocean or Florida Bay. The Kissimmee River feeds Lake Okeechobee, which in turn supplies water to the canal system and also to Everglades National Park. The water levels in the channels are maintained by water released by Lake Okeechobee during dry months, combined with normal local rainfall, which recharges the channels through surface runoff. Most of the available resources are lost through evaporation, seepage and ocean runoff. Most of the wastewater removed from surface waters is now discharged into deep injection wells at depths typically around 900 m. Because the shallow aquifer system cannot accommodate the water that fills the canal system during severe Florida storms, Water Management Districts prevent flooding by operating the canal system in a way that allows that freshwater to flow into the ocean. As a result, a valuable freshwater resource is lost, at least some of which could be put to better use if adequate storage were available at a reasonable cost.

Water availability becomes a serious problem during periods of drought due to the stresses placed on the surface aquifer in coastal areas. These withdrawals are often greater than the safe yield of the aquifer. Prolonged operation of systems in this manner will result in saline intrusion that may require closure of well fields or significant reductions in production. Reduced water availability can also affect ecologically sensitive wetlands. This is of great importance in South Florida during the months of November through April or May, when supplies are less and demand for water is high due to the tourist season.

Water managers have learned from this experience and are now refocusing their efforts to ensure there is a reliable year-round supply for all users. One of their greatest concerns is transforming the infrastructure built for flood defenses into one that can meet tomorrow's most demanding water requirements. New management practices require a balance between production and management of groundwater and surface water resources where available. This includes protecting resources through regulation, the potential construction of new surface reservoirs, and the implementation of new technologies such as aquifer storage and recovery.

Resource protection through regulation

Part of Florida's approach to meeting water needs involved the formation of five regional water management districts, funded primarily by property taxes and governed by individuals appointed by the Florida Governor to represent a balance of various Florida water interests. These districts are primarily responsible for managing water quantity issues, while the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has jurisdiction over water quality issues. The activities of the Water Management Districts included the development of water supply policies, plans and regulations to protect, conserve and develop fresh and brackish water resources. Activities also include well protection to protect water quality, allocation of amounts that do not affect the resource through the issuance of permits; and compliance with standards.

Wellhead protection involves the designation and classification of areas around a well or well field that restrict activities that could potentially contaminate or threaten the resource. This policy has been defunct in South Florida since the mid-1980's and has proven very successful in protecting wellfield areas. Gross contamination leading to the loss of part or all of a wellfield has been greatly reduced as a result of wellhead protection practices.

Safe yield limits for well fields are set and enforced by the water districts. Safe yield is generally defined as the volume of water that a wellfield or aquifer can produce without causing unacceptable adverse impacts or degradation of service. Degradation may involve saltwater intrusion or contamination from surface sources such as petroleum products.

One of the most important regulatory implications for the management of water resources is the consistent and fair application of applicable regulations to implement water management policies. This involves frequent workshops between different regulators (internal or external) to ensure compliance is consistently applied across users.

Florida has complex water management challenges and conflicting and competing demands for available water supplies. To meet these challenges, a water management system was developed. This system is widely recognized as one of the best systems of its kind in the United States, including a legal framework, governmental organization, policies, plans, and practices that work together to address water supply and water quality challenges.

Implementation of innovative technologies

The development of innovative technologies can enable improvements in water management, thereby alleviating the political and economic tensions usually associated with complex water supply problems. In order to use our natural resources more efficiently, new ways of running old systems must be considered. Some of these new technologies include continuous flow wetland effluent treatment, effluent reuse, stormwater retention and treatment in ponds at each new development site, brackish water membrane treatment; salt water intrusion barriers with treated water; Groundwater recharge and groundwater storage and reclamation (ASR). Each of these technologies must be considered in terms of their cost effectiveness and environmental benefits.

One of the most successful water management technologies in Florida, the United States and several other countries is ASR. This technology has proven itself in many different hydrogeological settings as a cost-effective means of increasing water supply and is now being introduced in other countries with water needs. ASR is the underground storage of water by wells in an appropriate aquifer when excess supply is available, and reclamation from the same wells when required to meet seasonal, long-term, or emergency peak demand. Storage zones include aquifers of fresh, brackish and marine water. Treated water generally requires no further treatment other than disinfection for drinking water purposes. The rapid implementation of ASR reflects its success as a water management tool as well as its cost effectiveness, as adding ASR to the water system typically reduces capital costs by at least 50 percent.

ASR systems were originally developed to store drinking water, but the concept has since been expanded to include storage of raw groundwater, surface water and treated water. Typical ASR wells can store in excess of 1 million cubic meters (264 million US gallons). However, the storage potential depends on the availability of storage water and the hydraulic properties of the receiving waters, which can be practically unlimited. These systems have many advantages over traditional storage techniques, but the greatest advantage is the ability to provide long-term storage at a much lower cost with greater flexibility. In Florida, storage is provided in brackish limestone sections of the upper Florida aquifer system. Some of the other benefits are listed below:

·seasonal storage
·emergency storage
·Prevention of salt water intrusion
·Nutrient reduction in agricultural runoff
·Reducing the concentration of disinfection by-products
·Deferred expansion of water supply/treatment facilities
·Storage of reclaimed water for reuse
·Reduction of losses through evaporation and filtration
·Minimum above ground requirements for storage
·Increased reliability and flexibility of the water supply system.
·Improving the efficiency of water management
·Reduced environmental impact
·Maintain distribution system flows and pressures.
ASR was combined with existing Florida water treatment plants to better manage the resource and is now being considered by the South Florida Water Management District for use with surface water reservoirs as an improved means of managing stormwater runoff.

Three main criteria determine the site-specific feasibility of ASR. These criteria are:

·Are there seasonal variations in water supply/availability, water demand, or both? In general, this criterion is met when the ratio of the maximum daily requirement to the average daily requirement for potable ASR systems is equal to or greater than 1.3.

·Is there adequate capacity for water facilities? ASR is typically a viable technology when the economies of scale are balanced against the initial cost of developing ASR wells when the usable production capacity is greater than 4,000 CMD (1 million gallons per day). This criterion applies primarily to ASR applications for water supply systems, but the economies of scale apply to all ASR water sources.

·Is there a suitable storage area? Site-specific assessment and testing is required to confirm the feasibility of ASR.

Of the 18 ASR systems currently in operation in the United States that store potable water, five are in Florida. One of South Florida's most recent and most successful ASR projects has been completed for the City of Boynton Beach. The ASR well was completed in a confined brackish limestone aquifer approximately 800 to 900 feet below surface. The well currently stores approximately 230,000 CM (60 million gallons) of potable water at a fill/recovery rate of approximately 5.7 Ml/d (1.5 million gallons per day). Higher operating volumes are expected. Recovery efficiencies in excess of 90 percent have been demonstrated during a recent period of low rainfall. The use of the well during this time allowed the city to lower production rates from its eastern well field, where saltwater intrusion is a problem. Saltwater intrusion occurs in the east well field during periods of high pumping and low replenishment. Figures 1 and 2 illustrate how an ASR system is integrated with an atypical water treatment system in both wet season storage mode and dry season regeneration mode.


Within the United States, Florida and California are often considered leaders in the development and implementation of new technology and regulatory practices in water management and other areas. Many recognize that the Florida Water Management District system and the water laws and regulations that form the backbone of that system are unparalleled in the United States. Rapid growth and associated increasing water demands have placed significant pressure on valuable natural systems that require intelligent water management by urban, agricultural and industrial interests to protect them. Prudent water management practices, combined with appropriate regulation and enforcement, can help achieve overall water management goals. However, innovative technologies such as Aquifer Storage Recovery (ASR) present a great opportunity to use available water resources more efficiently to meet future needs while protecting the environment and significantly reducing costs. .

Many of the water management practices and technologies developed and applied in Florida can also be useful in addressing the water management needs of Central and South America. In particular, population growth and increasing demand for water combined with seasonal fluctuations in supply and demand can provide an excellent opportunity for the application of ASR to meet future needs while reducing costs and protecting valuable natural ecosystems.

Planning - Essential to Conservation of Natural Resources: The Puerto Rican Experience

Haraldo Otero-Torres and Maria Blumen von Otero1

1Consulting Engineers, Versalles A5-1Park Gardens, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00926.
Editor's Note: At the time of publication of these proceedings, the English version of the presentation was not yet available. The Spanish version of this document, entitled Planning - An Urgent Imperative in Conserving Natural Resources - The Puerto Rican Experience, is available upon written request from the authors or the publisher.


This work is an unofficial essay on the situation that Puerto Rico is going through in the areas of water supply and quality control of water resources from the perspective of two consultants in civil and sanitary engineering. Because of its special relationship with the United States of America, Puerto Rico is required to comply with federal regulations in all areas of environmental protection.

Puerto Rico's particular geography, high population density, limited natural resources, dependent economy, and being a developing country (advanced, if you will) require it to adopt a highly developed country approach use the treatment of solving the inherent problems. the management of its natural resources.

The Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA) is the agency responsible for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the aqueduct and sewer and sewerage systems. The operation of PRASA is subject to obtaining a water use permit (by volume) from the Department of Natural Resources and a building permit from the Environmental Quality Board. It also meets the standards of the Department of Health (which oversees the quality of the water distributed) and must comply with the Planning Committee's master plan. EPA Region II NPDES approval is also required.

In order to comply with the Clean Water Act of the United States, PRASA prepared a comprehensive water quality management plan for Puerto Rico, proposing the regionalization of the sewage systems and devoting all its economic and human resources to this goal, without simultaneously considering the time of the planning, operation and the maintenance of sewage systems. water supply. On the other hand, the frequent violations of the treatment plants (in many cases exceeding the hydrological and organic parameter limits already set by the NPDES discharge permits) resulted in fines and, in the end, a high percentage in imprisonment. from them.

This situation hampered the development of the construction industry, since the court decision did not allow new connections to existing systems. At the same time, the suspension of planning updates for the development of new sources for water purification and the ignorance of the proper operation and maintenance of the existing systems created a water deficit that did not allow new connections to the system either. This Trap 22 resulted in drastic emergency action by the governor of Puerto Rico, who signed an executive order to use the funds needed to build permanent civil works and also restore the agency's planning role.

The case of Puerto Rico is an example of how not to respond to the requirements to meet water quality standards (more restrictive every day, either for water intake and its purification process or for discharge of treated wastewater into receiving waters) when taking action is not accompanied by comprehensive water quality planning and/or updating of the existing ones. The lack of planning in this area can create chaotic conditions that can negatively impact a country's economic and social development.

Adequate wastewater treatment technologies for sustainable development

Ernesto Perez, P.E.1

1Chief of Technology Transfer, Division of Water Management, US Environmental Protection Agency, Region IV, 345 Courtland St. N.E., Atlanta GA 30365, USA Phone: 404-347-3633
Author's Note: This document is available in Spanish by writing directly to the author at the address below.


Sustainable developmentIt has been defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In our own agenda, the Development and Environment Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean calls on current generations to design a development strategy in harmony with nature that meets the needs of current and future generations. In other words: Sustainable development requires the introduction of technologies that also meet the basic needs of the population in the areas of health, nutrition and housing.

Wastewater treatment technologies can be harmoniously designed within this concept of sustainable development. They can provide cost-effective sanitation and environmental protection while providing beneficial water reuse opportunities. These technologies are mainlynatural systems: aquatic and terrestrial. These technologies exist in the United States of America, primarily in small towns or where water reuse is a priority. These appropriate technologies may be appropriate for many developing countries and for several similar reasons:

1.forestry, agriculture, livestock and aquifer rechargeare the biggest environmental problems related to land in Latin America and other developing countries. According to the Our Own Agenda: In South America report, 47 percent of rangeland is losing fertility. Deforestation reached 0.61 percent per year for Latin America and the Caribbean and 1.6 percent per year for Central America. The irrigation potential is 20 million hectares, while six million hectares are irrigated. Thirty percent of irrigated land is unusable due to salinity.

Wastewater treatment technologies such as land systems (slow velocity, fast surface infiltration) provide beneficial uses for forests, some types of agriculture, cattle grazing, and groundwater recharge.

2.Low investment costs of sewage treatment plants.According to the Agenda Propia report, eighty percent of diseases in Latin America are due to deficiencies in sewerage infrastructure, while forty percent of urban residents have no sewerage system. In areas where land values ​​are not very important, wastewater treatment technologies such as aquatic systems (lagoons and built-up wetlands) can be very attractive while achieving similar environmental protection and sanitation.

3.Less labor and low operating and maintenance costs.Some of the socio-economic strategies to implement sustainable development include reducing production costs in general and paying particular attention to energy-saving technologies. Lagoon natural wastewater treatment systems require half the labor of a traditional system. In addition, reduced demands on pumps and other electrical equipment reduce the need for energy consumption.

This presentation will focus on appropriate wastewater treatment technologies based on the principle of sustainable development for Latin America and other developing countries and the recommendation of our own agenda to restructure public spending to prioritize low-cost and high-cost services.


Natural systems (aquatic and terrestrial) have been used in the United States of America for several years. They belong to two of the three main categories of wastewater treatment systems available to treat household waste. In addition to natural systems, mechanical systems are used where the suitability and quantity of surfaces is primarily limited. Figure 1 shows a summary of these systems.

Aquatic Systemare represented byLagoons: Optional, Aerated and Hydrograph Controlled Release (HCR). These gaps can be further filled in during treatmentConstructed wetlands, aquaculture and sand filters. Its main contributions to sustainable development are its low capital cost and low operational/technical requirements, which indirectly affect public funds. Lagoons are one of the oldest methods of wastewater treatment and are commonly used in the United States. Many of these lagoons serve small communities in the US and are accompanied by additional treatment from engineered wetlands, filter sandboxes, and aquaculture systems. They are used to treat a wide range of wastewater and work under a wide variety of climatic conditions. Its main advantages, as will be shown later, are itslow cost, low operation and maintenance, and low need for technical personnel.

facultative FriendsThey are currently the most commonly used form of loopholes. The water layer near the surface is aerobic, while the lower layer containing sludge deposits is anaerobic. The middle layer is aerobic near the top and anaerobic near the bottom and is called the facultative zone. The main advantages of the optional lagoon are the low operating and maintenance costs, as well as the low technical requirements for operation.Aerated Lagoonsthey are smaller and deeper than the optional lagoons. These systems evolved from stabilization ponds when aeration devices were added to counteract odors created by septic conditions. Aeration devices can be mechanical or diffuse air systems. The advantage of the aerated pond is that it takes up less space; However, mechanical devices are being introduced that require more engineering work. The main disadvantage of the lagoons is the high level of solid effluent, which can exceed 100 mg/l.Hydrograph Controlled Release (HCR) Lagunenthey are a new innovative process. In this system, waste water is discharged only during periods when the current flow is sufficient to prevent water quality deterioration. When flow conditions prevent discharge, wastewater collects in a storage lagoon.

Engineered wetlands, aquaculture and sand filtersThey were the most successful methods of cleaning sewage from lagoons; These systems have also been used with primary devices other than lagoons, such as B. Imhoff tanks, septic tanks and primary clarifiers. Its main benefit is to provide treatment beyond the secondary when needed.

built wetlandshave been used in two designs in recent years,free water surface (FWS), jSubsurface Flow (SF). Both systems use the roots of the plants to allow the growth of attached bacteria and the transfer of oxygen. Bacteria do most of the work in these systems, although some of the nitrogen is taken up by plants. HeSystem-FWSIt's closer to a natural wetland. Typically, these systems are long, narrow pools less than 2 feet deep planted with typical vegetation such as reeds or reeds.SF systemsUse a gravel or sand medium about eighteen inches deep that wastewater will flow through.

aquaculture systemsThey differ in the type of crop, it is mainly water hyacinth or duckweed. These systems are basically shallow ponds lined with floating plants with residence times of several days. The main goal of plants is to provide a suitable environment for bacteria to remove the vast majority of dissolved nutrients.

Sandfilterhave been used in the US for wastewater treatment for at least 100 years. The two commonly used types, batch and recirculating, differ primarily in the method of wastewater application. Intermittent filters are dosed by flooding and completely emptied before the next use. Recirculating filters use a pump to recirculate filter effluent at a 3 to 5 to 1 ratio. Both types of filters use a filter and a half 2 to 3 feet deep under a collection system consisting of drilled or open ended pipes enclosed in a graded gravel. These are primarily biological processes, although filtering and settling of suspended matter between sand grains and chemical sorption on grain surfaces play an important role in the efficiency of the process.

Earth systemsare represented byslow speed, superficial current and rapid infiltration.In addition to wastewater treatment and low maintenance costs, your individual contribution to sustainable development consists of:aquifer recharge (water conservation), reforestation, agriculture and livestock feeding. These systems depend on physical, chemical and biological reactions on and in the soil. Slow current and surface current require vegetation. Slow underground percolation and usually rapid percolation are runoff-free systems. Each system has different soil permeability limitations.

AlthoughSlow Rate SystemsThey are the most expensive systems of natural systems, their advantage is the positive impact on sustainable development. In addition to treating wastewater, they provide an economic return by reusing water and nutrients to produce marketable crops for some agricultural and livestock products and reforestation. In slow rate systems, primary or secondary wastewater is applied at a controlled rate to the moderate to slow permeability vegetated land surface. It is spread using sprinklers or furrow flooding. Wastewater is treated on its way through the soil by filtration, adsorption, ion exchange, precipitation, microbial action and plant uptake. Vegetation is a critical component of the process and serves to extract nutrients, reduce erosion and maintain soil permeability.

surface flowThe systems are a soil application method for wastewater treatment with point discharge into surface water. Its main contribution to sustainable development would be its low maintenance and need for technical personnel when nitrogen removal is required in soils with very low permeability. Sewage is intermittently applied to the top of the terraces and allowed to flow over the vegetated surface into the effluent collection channel. Treatment is achieved primarily through sedimentation, filtration and biochemical activity as the effluent flows through the vegetation on the terraced slope. Rates and loading cycles are designed to support the active growth of soil microorganisms. The rate and duration of application are controlled to minimize severe anaerobic conditions, and the rest period should be long enough to prevent surface stagnation but short enough to keep the microorganisms in an active state.

Inrapid infiltrationMost applied effluent percolates through the ground and the treated effluent naturally drains into surface water or into groundwater. Rapid percolation contributes to sustainable development by enabling groundwater recharge and low-cost wastewater treatment and engineering maintenance with little labor. The applied soils are medium and highly permeable. Sewage is applied by being spread in rafts or sprayed as it is treated as it travels through the soil. Planting is not necessary, but not a problem either. The main objective of the treatment is the conversion of ammoniacal nitrogen into nitrate nitrogen before discharge into the receiving water.

underground infiltration systemsThey are designed for municipalities with fewer than 2,500 inhabitants. They are usually designed for individual housing (septic tanks), but can also be designed for group housing. Although they require site-specific conditions, they can be inexpensive removal methods.

mechanical systemsuse a combination of physical, biological and chemical processes. In order to achieve the treatment goals, a series of tanks are used along with pumps, blowers, screens, crushers and other mechanical components along with various types of instruments. Sequential batch reactors (SBRs), oxidation ditch and extended aeration systems are variations of the activated sludge process, a suspended growth system. The Drip Filter Solids Contact Process (TFSCP) in Figure 1 is a modification of the conventional standard rate process with the supplemental growth system. These mechanical systems are effective where land is scarce.


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Natural systems are capable of producing effluent equivalent to mechanical systems. Figure 2 is a representation of the treatment performance of each of the systems. All systems can meet the secondary limits defined as Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and Total Suspended Solids (TSS) of less than 30 mg/l. All systems except the lagoons are usable in the advanced treatment category, which is defined as BOD and total solids below 20 mg/l.


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The last three columns, NH3 (ammonia conversion), TP (total phosphorus) and TN (total nitrogen), show the efficiency of some of the systems to achieve advanced waste treatment. An ammonia limit of 2 or less is consistently achieved by six of the systems; mechanical, sand filters and land application systems. Engineered wetland and aquaculture systems have shown promise for delivering low-ammonia effluent, but a concrete design that can deliver consistent results is currently lacking.

A low phosphorus limit rules out all but three systems: mechanical, slow, and subsurface infiltration. If the soil is favourable, significant phosphorus removal can be achieved by rapid infiltration. A low total nitrogen limit eliminates all but two options; mechanical or slow speed. If there is no risk of groundwater contamination, rapid infiltration is also available.

Treatment performance is the critical factor in determining the feasibility of the procedure. Although mechanical systems are shown to be able to meet all of the treatment performance criteria described, this performance requires additional upfront investment and O&M expenses, mainly for chemicals and tanks. The cost of these supplements is not included in the cost information below.


Figure 3 compares the work requirements for mechanical and lagoon systems with a capacity of 1 mgd. These numbers were derived from tables in the EPA publicationPersonnel estimation for municipal sewage treatment plants.The ease of operation of the lagoon system is reflected in the labor requirement, which is approximately half that for a mechanical system.


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USEPA Region IV in the US Southeast conducted a survey to classify wastewater treatment plants and operators for comparison purposes.

Figure 4 shows a consensus on education level, experience and salary for natural versus mechanical systems. In general, a natural system requires an operator with a lower level than that required for a mechanical system. This helps make it easier to find higher-ranking operators with higher salary demands. There has recently been a trend in these states to require at least a high school diploma to be considered for certification at any level.


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Figure 5 is a chart of the operating and maintenance (O&M) costs for the different systems with a treatment capacity of 1 to 0.1 mgd. All costs were taken from the manual referenced in the next section. The costs have been indexed to those of the EPAIndex of direct operating, maintenance and repair costsfor the first quarter of 1993 (4.3). Included costs are labour, energy, chemicals and materials such as equipment and spare parts.


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All costs are reported in dollars per thousand gallons of wastewater treated. The operating and maintenance costs of mechanical systems are significantly higher than any other system, especially at smaller flow rates. The cost of harvesting aquaculture systems is not included. This can be a significant cost factor for some systems.


Figure 6 is a chart of the capital costs of these processes. The cost is presented as a cost per unit of capacity, in this case in gallons per day. The cost data for this chart was taken from the EPA publication,Manual for evaluating alternative and innovative technologies,except for wetland and aquaculture data, which are from more recent sources. All costs were inflated from March 1993 (ENR CCI 5100).


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all costsextinguishthe property costs. All natural systems have an optional lagoon as their primary unit. Chlorination/dechlorination costs are included for all systems except slow and fast infiltration. Lining costs are not included for any of the aquatic systems.

The mechanics presented were derived from the cost of an oxidation ditch. These costs include clarifiers, oxidation ditch, pumps, building, laboratory and sludge drying beds. These costs include engineering and administrative costs, as well as piping, electrical, instrumentation, and site preparation costs that are not included in the construction cost curves.


The present value costs shown in Figure 7 were derived from the two previous charts. The present value represents the costs as equivalent costs, i. H. the ongoing investments required to cover all costs of the project over its useful life. The annual operating and maintenance costs were calculated using the uniform series present value factor with an interest rate of 6.5% for 20 years and added to the capital costs. Cost data is presented in dollars per gpd of treatment capacity and is within the treatment capacity range of 1 to 0.1 mgd.


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All natural systems are significantly less expensive than mechanical systems, especially at the lower flow rates shown. This is an overly simplistic assessment and a rigorous present value analysis would include many more factors to assess. However, it allows us to look at O&M costs from the same perspective as our cost of capital, and while further analysis will most likely change the numbers, it's doubtful they will change the conclusion.


Many communities around the world, in both developed and developing countries, are reaching the limits of their available water supplies; Consequently, water reclamation and reuse has become an attractive water saving option. Figure 8 describes the relative importance of the contributions of natural systems to sustainable development in addition to their role as a treatment process.


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These systems can be divided into three categories in relation to their contribution to sustainable development in developing countries:

1.Relatively low capital and operating costs and low technical labor while achieving a high degree of treatment: Lagoons supplemented with sand filters, constructed wetlands, aquaculture and surface current systems.

2.groundwater recharge: Fast infiltration systems and, to a lesser extent, slow speed.

3.Reforestation, grazing and crop irrigation: Slow systems.

Costs and labor requirements are discussed above. Some of the reforestation, grazing and irrigation potentials are shown in Figure 9. Slow-speed systems in particular can generate an economic return from reusing wastewater for crop irrigation, reforestation, and livestock grazing. Cultivation is a critical component in the slow rate process. It removes nutrients, reduces erosion, maintains or increases infiltration rates, and generates income.


Relative comparison of plant characteristics


revenue producer

users of water

nitrogen users

humidity tolerance




The change.


The change.

cotton fluff


The change.










The change.



forage harvest

birdseed reeds

























The change.

This table was taken from the EPA Process Design Manual:Municipal wastewater treatment country.

One of the most important steps in any reuse program is protecting the health of field workers and consumers. The main infectious agents that can be present in wastewater are: pathogenic microorganisms and chemical components. A secondary treatment may be acceptable for reuse application in systems such as non-food crop irrigation. Furthermore, the most important method of killing microorganisms is disinfection using methods such as chlorine. Figure 10 shows typical survival times for potential aquatic pathogens.



survival time (days)


fresh water and waste water




<120, but typically <50

<60 but usually <15

<100 but usually <20


<60 but usually <30

<30 but usually <15

<70 but usually <20


<30 but usually <15

<10 but usually <2

<20, but usually <10


Many months

<60 but usually <30

Many months

This table was taken from the EPA manual:Guidelines for water reuse.
In the United States of America, the use of treated water to irrigate food crops is prohibited in some states, while others allow treated water to be irrigated to food crops only when the crop is to be processed and not eaten raw. The less stringent requirements apply to the irrigation of non-food crops. Figure 11 shows proposed water reuse policies for categories critical to sustainable development in developing countries. For example, if food crops are surface irrigated so that there is no contact between the edible part of the crops and the treated water, a secondarily treated and disinfected effluent is acceptable. For crops consumed raw and not processed commercially, water reuse is more restrictive and less economically attractive.



types of reuse


Recovered water quality

Monitoring of reclaimed water

setback distances

Agricultural reuse
·commercially processed food crops
·orchards and vineyards


·pH = 6-9
· £30 mg/l DBO
· £30 mg/l SS
· £200 Coins/100ml
·1 mg/l Chlorid2rest min.

·pH weekly
·SS diary
·coli. diary

·300 feet (90 m) to drinking water supply well
·30 m to public areas

·Pastures for dairy cattle* and cattle


·pH = 6-9
· £30 mg/l DBO
· £30 mg/l SS
· £200 Coins/100ml
·1 mg/l Chlorid2rest min.

·pH weekly
·SS diary
·coli. diary

·300 feet (90 m) to drinking water supply well
·30 m to public areas



·pH = 6-9
· £30 mg/l DBO
· £30 mg/l SS
· £200 Coins/100ml
·1 mg/l Chlorid2rest min.

·pH weekly
·SS diary
·coli. diary

·300 feet (90 m) to drinking water supply well
·30 m to public areas

·Commercially unprocessed food crops


·pH = 6-9
· £10 mg/l DBO
· £2 UNT
·No coli feces detectable per 100ml
·1 mg/l Chlorid2rest min.

·pH weekly
·coli. diary

·50 feet (15 m) to drinking water supply well

groundwater recharge

·Location-specific and usage-dependent

·Location-specific and usage-dependent

·Depending on the treatment and application

·location specific

This table was taken from the EPA manual:Guidelines for water reuse.

* Dairy cattle should be banned from grazing for 15 days after the end of irrigation. If this waiting time is not met, a higher level of disinfection must be provided to achieve 14 faecal coli/100mL or less.


Figure 12 is an illustration of the area of ​​acres of land required per mgd treatment capacity. All natural systems include an optional lagoon as the primary treatment unit. Low-speed systems require up to 760 acres, while very light-duty mechanical systems take up the least amount of land. The upper end of these ranges represent the worst case. A preliminary assessment should use the midpoint of these ranges. Further decisions must be made before the final process selection.


Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (20)


Figure 13 examines each process in terms of geology, topography, groundwater and climate. The rating systemcritical, importantjeasy/none,is used relatively.


Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (21)

Critical,it means that the constraint can be so unfavorable that it is not possible to build this process. An example would be slopes well over 6% for a site being considered for overland flow. While it is not impossible that this limitation could be overcome, the additional cost would most likely make this option worth considering compared to more viable options.

A review ofimportantThis means that while the constraint is not severe enough to impede the process, it may require significant increases in cost to overcome the constraint. By giving a rating ofeasy/none,this restriction is not intended to be overridden. In general, this classification implies that the constraint can be easily overcome with little or no cost increases.


The EPA's Innovative and Alternative (I/A) program has been very successful in promoting the development and application of more cost-effective and environmentally friendly wastewater treatment technologies. Through financial incentives, active research and development efforts, and an aggressive technology transfer program, the I/A program greatly enhanced public and professional acceptance of natural systems.

Figure 14 is a chart showing the number of projects funded in some of the categories discussed. This data comes from a 1989 report to Congress. This does not represent the total number of active schemes, just those that have received federal funding. Since the completion of the I/A program, these systems have continued to increase in use and acceptance. For example, a 1991 survey conducted in USEPA Region IV identified 48 engineered wetland systems currently in use in the region.


Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (22)


(Video) Water Sanitation Hygiene

This document focused on appropriate technologies for wastewater treatment based on the principle of sustainable development. Treatment performance, costs and manpower requirements were competitively compared with conventional wastewater treatment systems.

In addition to wastewater treatment, these systems also show good economic potential for water reuse in reforestation, agriculture, grazing and water conservation, provided sufficient land is available. Hundreds of these systems are in use in the United States of America.

It must be emphasized that for a water reuse program to be successful using these technologies, strict water quality regulation, monitoring and control must be implemented to protect the field worker and the consumer.


The effluent options described in this document were extracted from the EPA references listed at the end of this summary. Technology Transfer contributors John Harkins, Bruce Henry P.E., Hector Danois and Jim Adcock also made contributions.


EPA. 1993. Environmental Protection Agency. Presentation: The Technical Appropriateness of Wastewater Treatment Options for Small Communities, Atlanta, GA. Technology Transfer, Water Department.

EPA. 1992. Environmental Protection Agency. Handbook: Guidelines for water reuse. Cincinnati, OH. EPA/625/R-92/004

EPA. 1992. Environmental Protection Agency. Handbook: Waste Water Treatment/Disposal for Small Communities. Cincinnati, OH. EPA/625/R-92/005

EPA. 1980. Environmental Protection Agency. Handbook for evaluating innovative and alternative technologies. Washington, DC. EPA/430/9-78-009

Latin American and Caribbean Commission on Development and Environment. 1990. Report: Our Own Agenda. Inter-American Development Bank, Washington. direct current.

New global dialogue on environment and development in the western hemisphere. 1990. Report: Pact for a New World.

EPA. 1988. Environmental Protection Agency. Design Manual: Engineered Wetlands and Aquatic Plant Systems. Cincinnati, OH. EPO/625/1-88/022

EPA. 1985. Environmental Protection Agency. Evaluation of intermittent sand filter technologies. Cincinnati, OH.

EPA. 1983. Environmental Protection Agency. Planning Manual: Municipal Wastewater Stabilization Ponds. EPO/625/1-83-015

EPA. 1981. Environmental Protection Agency. Process Design Manual: Land Treatment of Urban Wastewater. Cincinnati, OH. EPA/625/1-81-013

EPA. 1980. Environmental Protection Agency. Design Manual: In Situ Wastewater Treatment and Disposal Systems. EPA/625/1-80-012

EPA. 1980. Environmental Protection Agency. Planning of wastewater treatment plants for small communities. Cincinnati, OH. EPA-600/8-80-030

EPA. 1990. Environmental Protection Agency. State design criteria for wastewater treatment systems. Washington DC EPA430/09-90-014

EPA. 1989. Environmental Protection Agency. Effectiveness of the Innovative and Alternative Wastewater Treatment Technologies Program: Report to Congress. Washington DC EPA 430/09-89-009

Reed, SC, EJ Middlebrooks, R.W. Crites. Natural systems for waste management and treatment. McGraw Hill Book Company. New York, 1988

WPCF, 1990. Water Pollution Control Federation. NaturalSystems for wastewater treatment. Practice Manual FD-16. Alexandria, Va.

Anhang A



goal of treatment

Detention time, days


organic load




3-4.5 pies
(1-1,5 m)

36-110 lb/ac x Tiefe
(40-120 kg/ha x d)

optional pond



4.5-7.5 cakes
(1,5-2,5 m)

20-60 lb/ac x Tiefe
(22-67 kg/ha x d)

aerated pond

secondary and polished


6-18 cakes

45-180 lb/ac x Tiefe
(50-120 kg/ha x d)

Storage tanks and HCR

Secondary & Storage & Polishing


9-15 cakes

20-60 lb/ac x Tiefe
(22-67 kg/ha x d)

hyacinth pond*



<4.5 cakes

<45 pounds/AC x day
(<50 kg/ha x d)

The table above is extractedNatural systems for waste management and treatment,von SC Reed, E.J. Middlebrooks und RW Crites, McGraw Hill Book Co. Nueva York, 1988.

* Water hyacinth systems are sensitive to frost; Year-round use is restricted to the warm temperate climate of the southern states.


Design factor

free water surface

submerged bed

Minimum size requirement

23-115 ac/1mgd
(2.5-12.3 ha/1000 m³ x d)

2,3-46 ac/1mgd
(0.25-4.9 ha/1000 m³ x d)

max water depth

relatively superficial

water level below the soil surface

bed depth


12-30 inches (30-76 cm)

Minimum hydraulic retention time in days



max Hydraulic loading rate per day

0,2-1,0 gpd/sqft
(10-40 L/m²/Tag)

5-10 gpd/sqft
(0,02-0,4 m³/m²/Tag)

Minimum pre-treatment

Primary (Secondary Option)


Organic load area as BOD

9-18 lb/ac x Tiefe
(10-20 kg/ha x d)

1,8-140 lb/ac x Tiefe
(2-160 kg/ha x d)

The table above is from EPA Handbook No. EPA/625/R-92/005, September 1992:Wastewater treatment/disposal for small communities.
Anhang A


Design factor

To bury





Material Multimedia

Hard-wearing, washable granules

effective size

0,40-1,00 mm

0,40-1,00 mm

0,40-1,00 mm

Unit. coef.





24-36 inches

24-36 inches

24-36 inches

hydraulic load

(<6,1 cm/Tag)

2-5 gpd/cake2
(8,2-20,4 cm/Tag)

3-5 gpd/cake2
(12,2-20,4 cm/Tag)

organic load

< 5x10-³ lbs.DBO5/Tag/ft2
(< 2,4 x 10-² kg.DBO5/Tag/m2)

Medium temperature.

>5 °C

dosing frequency

>2 per day

>2 per day

5-10 Min./30 Min.

recirculation ratio



3:1 bis 5:1

The table above is from the April 1985 EPA publication:Evaluation of intermittent sand filter technology.


special feature

Langsames Weather

Rapid infiltration

Subterranean Infiltration

surface flow






Average daily charge depth or in 1,000 gal/ac

0.5-0.6 inch

0.6-4 inches

0.1-1.6 inch

0.4-2.4 inch






SS (mg/l)





TN (mg/l)





Pt (mg/l)





Colif. feces. (for 100 ml.)





Virus, deletion of bird records.




< 1

Metals, (%) Removal






special feature

Langsames Weather

Rapid infiltration

Subterranean Infiltration

surface flow

soil condition

Sandy loam to day loam

sand and sandy loam

Sandy to loamy during the day

Silty loam and day loam

depth to groundwater

3 cakes
(1 subway)

3 cakes
(1 subway)

3 cakes
(1 subway)





Does not apply


weather restrictions

growth phase



growth phase


<20% cultivated. country
<40% without a cult.


N / A

Finished earrings 2-8%

The above tables are from EPA Handbook No. EPA/625/R-92/005, September 1992:Wastewater treatment/disposal for small communities.

Side job: Economics and finance

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (23)

Water management problems and the World Bank's new water policy Financing investments in water supply and sanitation
Mechanisms for financing the development of infrastructure for public works
Designing appropriate financial arrangements to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of water supply facilities
Environmental issues and constraints from the perspective of borrower countries
Regional Environment and Health Investment Plan
An examination of barriers to private sector participation in water resources and sanitation in Latin America

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (24)

Water management problems and the World Bank's new water policy

K. Guillermo Pascua1

1Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, 1994 Buford Ave., St. Paul, MN 55108, USA.

With the growing water challenges faced by many countries in the developing world, new ways of managing this valuable economic resource are needed. The fact that water is essential to human survival does not mean that governments must provide all water services to individual consumers. It is time to consider changing the traditional role of government in the water sector from builder and provider of all water services to facilitator and regulator of service providers. In the first part of this paper I will describe the growing demand for water and the serious problems this poses for developing countries and explain why it is time to consider changing the role of government in the water sector. In part two, I will describe the World Bank's new water policy that we have developed to address these issues.

Water consumption and future requirements

Human water use has increased more than 35-fold over the past three centuries and 4-fold since 1940. Recently, water abstraction has increased by 4-8% per year, with most of the demand coming from developing countries. 69 percent is used for agriculture, 23 percent for industry and 8 percent for domestic use. In Asia and Africa, more than 85 percent of the water is used for agriculture. Average consumption rates vary widely, with per capita consumption in North and Central America more than twice that of Europe, three times that of Asia, and seven times that of Africa.

As the world population grows to at least 8 billion people by 2025 and living standards are expected to continue to rise, the need for water will increase dramatically. Much of the population growth will be concentrated in urban areas. By the year 2000, seventeen of the world's twenty-four cities with populations of more than ten million will be in developing countries, up from just one in 1960. Supplying and providing cheap, clean and reliable water supplies to this number will place new demands on the world's water resources . .

food production

A third of all food production in the world comes from irrigated land. Since 1950, the irrigated area has increased 2.5 times, a key factor in keeping food production in line with growing food demand. Over the past 25 years, the expansion of irrigation has been responsible for more than half of the increase in global food production. . But now it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain this expansion. Irrigated land and water are becoming increasingly scarce. The cost of new irrigation is rising rapidly and there are growing environmental concerns about large water projects and overexploitation of groundwater. Although it is estimated that another 110 million groves in developing countries are potentially irrigable, locational disadvantages and high capital and operating costs are likely to severely limit future expansion. In fact, the expansion of irrigated area in the 1970s was only half as fast as in the 1960s. It seems, therefore, that the strategy of expanding agricultural production pursued by the World Bank and other international organizations over the past 25 years is over increasing irrigated Area, high-yielding varieties and the use of fertilizers are no longer sustainable. The newly irrigated areas are unlikely to be the main source of new food supplies; rather, the focus should be on more efficient use of water in existing irrigation systems. This challenge is particularly acute in countries with mature water systems, where some of the water currently used for irrigation must be diverted to higher value uses.

Domestic and industrial use

In terms of household needs, around 1 billion people in developing countries lack access to safe drinking water, particularly the rural poor, and 1.7 billion have inadequate sanitation. As a result of waterborne diseases, which account for 80 percent of all diseases in developing countries, contaminated water places an enormous burden on many countries. Contaminated water is involved in the death of more than 3 million people, mostly children, from diarrhea and causes about 900 million cases of illness every year. Therefore, a clean water supply is literally a matter of life and death. Improving access to water and sanitation makes perfect economic sense. For example, in the first ten weeks of Peru's cholera epidemic alone, losses from reduced agricultural exports and tourism were estimated at $1 billion, more than triple the amount the country invested in water and sanitation in the 1980s.

Box: 1. Rising cost of water supply

Many cities transport water over long distances and make extensive use of expensive pumps. In addition, the intensive use of water has created the need for additional water treatment due to reduced water quality or rejection of the existing source due to irreversible quality damage.

Haman:When the water supply system was groundwater-based, the average additional cost (AIC) was estimated at $0.41 per cubic meter, but chronic groundwater shortages led to the use of surface water sources. This raised the AIC to $1.33 per cubic meter. The latest work will pump water up to 1,200 meters from a site about 40 kilometers from the city. The scheme below calls for the construction of a dam and conveyor at an estimated cost of $1.5 per cubic meter, which also rounds the cost of seawater desalination from $1 to $2 per cubic meter.

Shenyang (China):The cost of new water supplies would increase from $0.04 to $0.11 per cubic meter between 1988 and 2000, an increase of nearly 200 percent. The main reason is that the groundwater from the Hun Valley Alluvium, today's water source, is to be rejected as a source of drinking water for reasons of water quality. As a result, the water has to be transported to Shenyang by gravity from a surface spring 51 kilometers from the city. In Yingkuo, the AIC for water diverted from the nearby Daliao River is about $0.16 per cubic meter. However, due to heavy pollution, this source cannot be used for domestic purposes. As a result, water is now transported to the city from the more distant Bi Liu River at a rate of $0.30 per cubic meter.

Lima:In 1981, the AIC for a project to meet short- to medium-term needs, relying in part on both a surface source from the Rimac River and groundwater supplies, was $0.25 per cubic meter. As the aquifer is severely depleted, groundwater sources can no longer be used to meet demand after the early 1990s. To meet long-term urban needs, a diversion of water from the Atlantic Basin, whose AIC was estimated at $0.53 per cubic meter.

Mexico City:The water from the Cutzamala River is currently being pumped through a 180-kilometer-long pipeline at an altitude of 1,000 meters into the Valley of Mexico. The AIC for water from this well is $0.82 per cubic meter, nearly 55 percent more than the previous well, the Valley of Mexico Aquifer. The first well was restricted due to subsidence problems, lowering of the water table and deterioration in water quality. The redesigned city water supply project is expected to be even more expensive as it will have a longer transmission line and pump water 2,000 meters up into the city.

* Cost excluding treatment and distribution.

The time spent fetching water for domestic use is often a high cost to rural households and an enormous burden for women. In some areas, women spend more than 15 percent of their time in this job. The benefits of rural water supply projects can be enormous. In a Mozambique village, a water supply project reduced the average time women spend fetching water from 120 to 25 minutes a day. The time saved can be used to improve childcare, food production and other economic activities.

In urban areas, both residential and industrial users are facing sharply increased costs for new supplies, sometimes double or triple the previous cost. For example, for Amman, Jordan, new shipments cost more than three times the current cost (Table 1). In Lima, Peru, to meet their long-term needs, they must transfer water from an Atlantic basin at more than double the current cost.

Water quality requirements

In addition to supplying water to households, industry and agriculture, countries are increasingly faced with significant environmental problems related to the management of water resources. For example, many fisheries and wetlands depend on continuous flows of adequate quality and are threatened by increasing water abstraction. Currently, in many countries, the amounts and qualities of water provided for river and flood use are insufficient to sustain valuable water-dependent ecosystems.

In addition, groundwater resources in many places are seriously threatened by overexploitation, pollution from urban and agricultural pollutants, and saltwater intrusion. In the case of non-renewable groundwater, greater attention should be paid to the possible future uses of these resources before they become depleted or polluted. There are instances where non-renewable groundwater is currently being pumped, which could provide an important water source for future domestic or industrial use to irrigate low-value crops. When overpumping affects international or interstate aquifers, managing water abstraction becomes a difficult political task. For example, Saudi Arabia uses groundwater for irrigation from the same aquifer that Jordan plans to store for future urban use (Box 2).

Box: 2. Water scarcity in Jordan

Water resources in Jordan are scarce and expensive to use. But its effective management is key to meeting the needs of irrigated agriculture, which accounts for 19% of exports, as well as industry and the population. Jordan's economy has changed since the early 1950s, when the population was just 600,000 and agriculture was largely limited to rainfed agriculture and livestock. The population is currently 3.2 million and growing by 3.8 percent annually. Increasing urbanization (currently 70 percent of the population) and rising incomes have led to an increased demand for water. Approximately 48,500 hectares were irrigated in the Jordan Valley, Northern Highlands and Disi Well area in south-eastern Jordan. This has raised growing concerns about the balance of water use between irrigation and municipal and industrial (M&I) uses.

Jordan's water resources are relatively well studied. Long-term secure groundwater production on Jordanian territory, excluding fossil aquifers, is estimated at around 356 million cubic meters.3Per year. Surface water resources are estimated at 540 million m³ per year. The current consumption of surface water is estimated at 336 million m3per year, almost all of which is used for irrigation. The topography and geological characteristics of the valleys have necessitated the construction of expensive storage facilities to use the surface water effectively. In the past, the strategy has been to use surface water primarily for irrigation and groundwater for both M&I and irrigation. This strategy was reasonable given the better quality of the groundwater and its concentration in the highlands where the majority of the population lives. Due to the scarcity of water, however, this strategy is being modified.

Municipal and industrial (M&I) water currently accounts for about 25 percent of total water use, and water use is modest for a country of Jordan's per capita income. Water is metered and prices are high by region standards. However, as the population is projected to increase from 3.2 million in 1990 to 7.4 million in 2015, even with modest consumption rates, demand for M&I water is expected to increase until it accounts for about 40 percent of total water demand by 2015. In response to increasing scarcity, irrigation is now performed by penstock sprinkler and drip irrigation systems, which have largely replaced surface irrigation.

There are still three underutilized water sources in Jordan. This is (a) Water that would be made available by building a storage facility on the Yarmouk River known as the Wahdeh Dam (or Unity Dam) with a yield of 149 million cubic meters.3yearly; (b) Water from the Disi wells in south-eastern Jordan with an estimated safe yield of 110 million m3for 100 years; and (c) treated wastewater, which will increasingly become available for collection and reuse for irrigation (around €165 million).3per year in 2015).

Water planning strategies of the 1980s called for all water from the proposed Wahdeh Dam to be used for irrigation to allow for an expansion of the irrigated area in the Jordan Valley. In addition, licenses have been granted for the development of the Disi Aquifer for irrigated agriculture. However, the government's increasing awareness of water scarcity led to a review of this strategy. It was understood that the Disi Aquifer should be considered a strategic reserve to be used for M&I water when needed and that exploitation of this water source for agriculture was not in the interest of the country. An additional complication arises because Saudi Arabia also taps into the Disi Aquifer for irrigation. Therefore, in the future, this source of M&Iwater can only be saved by an international agreement between Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Source: World Bank Water Resources Management Policy, 1993.

water management issues

All of these considerations have led to the conclusion that water resources need to be better managed. Current practices are not sustainable from an economic or environmental point of view. Currently, in many countries, low-value uses consume a significant portion of water resources, while high-value uses are scarce. In addition, water consumption in many urban areas is unacceptably high. For example, it accounts for 58 percent of the water supplied in Manila's water supply system and about 40 percent of the water supplied in most Latin American cities, compared to just 8 percent in Singapore. The distribution losses alone reach 40 percent in Algeria. Some of the losses are due to poor system design and management, while others are due to the low price of water. For example, a recent review of World Bank-funded water supply projects showed that the effective price of water was only about 35 percent of the average cost of supply, while irrigation water charges cover a much smaller portion of the average cost and are generally not based on what is recorded Volume.

Let me briefly summarize the current weaknesses in water management practices that have led to misallocation, pollution and waste of water resources:

·Fragmented management of water resources (Table 3).

·Over-reliance on overburdened government agencies that lack the right incentive structure.

·Lack of decentralization of water service provision and lack of stakeholder, community and private sector involvement.

·Inadequate coordination of use and development of international and intergovernmental water resources.

·Low water prices and lack of cost recovery.

·Insufficient water and sanitation, especially for the poor.

·The neglect of water quality, health and environmental aspects in the management of water resources.

Box: 3. Fragmented management of water resources: examples from southern India

Overexploitation of water resources has already occurred in several countries, mainly due to fragmented decision-making. An example is the Chittar River in southern India. Its very varied flows have traditionally been diverted in many places into small reservoirs (tanks) used to irrigate the main rice crop after the monsoon rains. Diversion channels are large to accommodate flood currents. Therefore, when a dam was built, the upper channel could contain essentially all of the regulated flow. Upper tanks now tend to stay full year-round, concentrating benefits and increasing evaporative losses. The larger lowland areas have largely reverted to unsafe rainfed agriculture. The construction of the dam without proper consideration of downstream users and the storage capacity already present in the basin is a good example of how the isolated development of individual projects can cause significant economic losses.

The construction of the Sathanur Dam in Tamil Nadu on the Ponnair River to serve a left bank control area deprived traditional and production delta areas of irrigation water. The rights of downstream irrigation works are recognized in the dam's operating regulations, but most of the regulated flow below the dam is diverted to the upper channels, depriving the channels below. Losses have increased significantly on the wide sandy bottom, and no surface water has reached the sea for twenty years or more. Continuous spills in about 50 percent of all years were used to justify the later construction of the Right Bank Irrigation Command, further exacerbating bottlenecks in the delta and sparking endless conflicts between the two irrigation commands. Additionally, additional dams on upstream tributaries contribute to evaporative losses in an already fully developed basin. Irrigation intensity in the productive delta has been further impacted, and in turn the Sathanur Commands are suffering. High-yield crops are replaced by crops on land that is inherently less productive and fed by tributaries that are inherently more variable than the main river before it.

The Amaravarthy River is a tributary of the Cauvery, India's most controversial major river. In the absence of the Cauvery Agreement, Kamataka (the upstream riparian state) has steadily developed massive irrigation schemes, depriving the Delta (Tamil Nadu's rice bowl) of its usual supply. Also, Tamil Nadu developed the Amaravarthy. As at Santhanur, discharges are from the Amaravarthy Dam for traditional areas, but these areas are downstream and replacement of regulated rivers has been encouraged by the development of private pumps along the river banks. New electrical connections have since been banned but little can be done to control the illegal connections or the diesel pump and little water now reaches the lower command areas let alone Cauvery. Finally, new hydroelectric dams are being built on the tributaries in both Kerala and Tamil Nadu, depriving not only the old land but also the new land and pumping areas of the water source.

The new banking policy

In response to these past weaknesses in water policy and the problems of government failure, many countries, but also international organizations such as the World Bank, have critically questioned their activities in the water resources sector. For the World Bank, this resulted in a new Water Resources Management Policy, approved by the World Bank Board of Directors on May 25, 1993, and published in September 1993. This was the culmination of a process that officially began with a workshop in June 1991 attended by representatives from many borrowing and donor countries. This workshop identified the main issues that participants felt should be addressed in water policy. They were particularly concerned about:

·Cross-cutting issues of water allocation and pricing.
·environmental and health issues and
·International and interstate conflicts over water resources.
Not surprisingly, all of these issues have been addressed in the Bank's water policy, along with a number of additional concerns. The policy has been extensively revised based on feedback from inside and outside the bank. The reviewers include UNDP, FAO, UNEP and WHO as well as NGOs from developing and industrialized countries.

Central to the new policy is the adoption of a comprehensive management framework that requires water to be treated as an economic good. It recommends a more decentralized system of service delivery, greater reliance on pricing and autonomous financial services firms, and greater involvement of water users in the management of water resource systems. It encourages countries to develop national water strategies with coherent and consistent policies and regulations across all sectors. Let me briefly highlight the main features:

·The countries must develop afull analytical frameworkfor management of water resources appropriate to a country's needs, resources and capacities. Such a framework will allow for the incorporation of cross-sectoral and environmental considerations into investment and policy-making by taking into account the interactions between the different elements of a river basin ecosystem.

·Countries should pay more attention to itincentiveson the efficient use of water and on the financial responsibility of water companies. They need to increase confidence in pricing as a management mechanism that reflects resource scarcity and encourages their efficient use.

·Governments should astrong legal and regulatory frameworkto deal with pricing, monopoly organizations, environmental protection and other aspects of water management that are not adequately managed by unrestrained market forces.

·governments needdecentralizeResponsibilities for the provision of water services for the private sector, for financially independent entities and for community organizations such as B. Associations of water users.

·countries should encourageMissionby stakeholders in the planning, design, implementation and management of activities related to water resources.

·Governments must play an active roleProtecting, improving and restoring water quality and water dependent ecosystems and reducing water pollution.

·Countries must give higher priority to adequate water supply and sanitationservices to the poorThis will help stop the spread of disease in crowded, low-income areas.

·The Bank will be more proactive in helping countries resolveInternational Water Resourcesand in the exchange of information about these water resources (Table 4).

Box 4: The Indus Water Treaty

When the subcontinent split in 1947, the political boundary abruptly cut Pakistan's two irrigation canal systems from their origin in India. The dispute began in 1948 when India halted supplies and claimed ownership of the waters flowing through its territory. In 1951, the former TVA president warned that the dispute was dangerous and suggested that the World Bank should help countries develop the Indus system. The Bank's President quickly offered help, and delegations from both countries met in Washington in May 1952 to work out a joint agreement. to plan. However, their views differed too far to carry out joint planning. The bank suggested that each side should present its own plan. Again their plans were too far apart to be reconciled. However, they accepted the bank's offer to submit their own proposal.

In February 1954, the Bank submitted a proposal to allocate the eastern rivers (Ravi, Beas and Sutlej) to India and the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum and Chenab) to Pakistan. This proposal called for the construction of a system of connecting canals from the western rivers to replace Pakistan's use of the eastern rivers, a transitional period to allow Pakistan to complete these projects, and the need for India to bear the cost of the project and continue deliveries during the to send during the transition period. . The bank said its proposal was simple, doable and fair. This division would satisfy the utility of both sides, leaving each free to develop new supplies. India accepted the proposal. Pakistan's acceptance was conditional; He claimed that there was not enough surplus in the western rivers to replace its use in the eastern rivers.

The delegations met again in Washington in December 1954 to work on the Bank's proposal. After extensive studies of available river supplies and river gains and losses, the Bank issued a recall notice in May 1954, confirming that the excess supplies in the western rivers would be insufficient at certain periods to meet Pakistan's resupply needs and that its original Proposal to do this had to be modified. include warehouse work. Pakistan accepted the amended proposal, but India said its financial responsibility should be limited to the bank's original proposal.

The next four years of negotiations to resolve disagreements on various issues were difficult. During this time the Bank was also able to mobilize financial support from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. After long, intensive and delicate discussions, the Indus Water Treaty was finally signed on September 19, 1960.

The bank's success was based on its recognized technical expertise and impartiality, as well as its ability to provide financial support. The Indus Water Agreement is a milestone in the Bank's role as an international facilitator. It highlights both the difficulty of negotiating agreements and the need for greater involvement of international organizations such as the Bank to help countries negotiate agreements on international water resources management.

World Bank loans and future financial needs

The Bank has had a very active water resources management assistance program since its inception. By the end of 1991, the bank had lent more than $40 billion for water projects, almost half of it for irrigation. Current lending plans require continued active involvement in water resource management: The Bank is expected to lend US$18.3 billion for water resource investments over the period 1993-1998.

However, the financing needs to meet future investment needs in developing countries in irrigation, hydropower, water supply and sanitation, estimated at US$600-700 billion over the next decade, are far greater than the Bank's lending capacity. The bank will therefore only be able to finance a small part of the receivables. More capital must be raised by the water users themselves. This implies that the much greater emphasis on cost recovery, financial responsibility, user involvement and private sector involvement promoted in the new banking policies will be absolutely necessary for countries over the next century to meet their food and water supply needs.


This is an ambitious agenda. In most countries, their implementation will be gradual, initially addressing priority issues that vary from country to country. Programs must be tailored to the country's institutional capacity. In many cases the capacity needs to be upgraded and this takes time. The implementation of policy recommendations within the bank will also take time as staff skills need to be updated, skill mix adjusted and processes developed and improved.

Some progress has already been made as several countries are in the process of developing or adopting water policies that reflect some of the Bank's broad policy lines. Countries such as Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Indonesia have taken the approach of promoting and expanding the role of water user associations (WAUs) in water management and system ownership. Other countries like Chile and Mexico have taken the additional step of using water markets as another mechanism to decentralize and improve water management. Others, including Pakistan and Peru, are considering radical changes to their current water management.


As proposed in the World Bank's new water policy, countries need to develop a two-pronged approach to managing their water resources. First, they must emphasize overall planning of water resources, and second, they must work to decentralize the very delivery of water services. How they do this varies from country to country and should reflect each country's goals and intentions. For example, some countries want to leave the provision of water services to the private sector, while others may use autonomous public financial services. The key component is holding those delivering services accountable to water users.

To complement these efforts to improve water supplies, countries should develop mechanisms to coordinate their water development and planning activities. Most countries can no longer afford independent authorities to develop water for their own purposes, such as hydroelectric power, irrigation or urban water supply, without considering other potential uses. Dependencies in water use are taken into account in the earliest planning phases.


Ansari, N. 1989. Rehabilitation of Municipal Irrigation Systems in Nepal, ODI Irrigation Management Network Paper 89/1c, Londres.

Brajer, V., A. Church, R. Cummings, and P. Farah. 1989. The Strengths and Weaknesses of Water Markets.Natural Resources Forum. 29. 489-509.

Brajer, V. and W. Martin. 1990. Water Rights Markets: Social and Legal Considerations.American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 49:35-44.

Bruns, B. and S.D. Atmanto. 1992. How are irrigation systems delivered to farmers? Questions and Decisions in Indonesia, ODIIirrigation Management Network, Paper 10, London.

Chambouleyron, J. 1989. The Reorganization of Water Users' Associations in Mendoza, Argentina.Irrigation and drainage systems. 3:81-94.

Chan, A. 1989. To Market or Not to Market: Allocation of Interstate Waters.Natural Resources Magazine. 29:529-547.

Chandrakanth, M.G. and J. Romm. 1990. Groundwater Depletion in India - Institutional Management Regimes.Natural Resources Magazine. 30:485-501.

Pascua, K.William. 1993. Economic failure plagues public irrigation in developing countries: A security problemexploration of water resources, bald.

Easter, K. W. and Y. Tsur. 1992. Water shadow values ​​and institutional arrangements for water allocation between sectors in competition, unpublished draft.

Easter, K. William, Hrsg. 1986Investments in irrigation, technology and management strategies for development. Studies in Water Policy and Management, No. 9, Westview, Boulder, Co.

Gerards, J., B. Tambunan, and B. Harun. 1991. Experience with the introduction of irrigation fees in Indonesia. Paper prepared for the 8th Conference of the Afroasiatic Region, ICID, Bangkok, November 1991.

Griffin, R. and F. Boadu. 1992. Marketing Water in Texas: Opportunities for ReformNatural Resources Magazine.32:265-288.

Howe, C.W., DR. Schurmeier, and W.D. Shaw. 1986 (a) Innovative Approaches to Water Allocation: The Potential of Water Markets.exploration of water resources. 22:439-445.

International Institute for Irrigation Management. 1989. SmallScale Irrigation Turnover Program, Volume 3. TA 937-INO-Indonesia. final report.

Lee, TR 1990.Water Resource Management in Latin America and the Caribbean. Westview, Boulder, Co.

Lewis, H. 1980. Irrigation Societies in the Northern Philippines. InIrrigation and Agricultural Development in Asia: Perspectives from the Social Sciences. W. Feigling, ed. Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Meinzen-Dick, R. 1992. Water Markets in Pakistan: Participation and Productivity. borrador inedito. IFPRI.

Nickum, J. and KW Easter. 1991. The application of transaction cost economics to water use problems in large cities in the Asia-Pacific region.Regional Development Dialogue. 12:3-14.

Palanisami, K. and K. William Easter, 1991. Hydroeconomic interaction between tank storage and groundwater recharge,Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics. 46(2):174-9.

Patil, R.K. 1987. Economics of farmer involvement in irrigation management. ODI Irrigation Management Network, Paper 87/2d, London.

Plusquellec, H. 1989.Two irrigation systems in Colombia. Working Paper Series 264, Weltbank.

Roberts, M. 1980. Traditional Customs and Irrigation Development in Sri Lanka. enIrrigation and Agricultural Development in Asia: Perspectives from the Social Sciences. W. funky ed. Cornell University Press, Ithaka.

Shah, T. and K. Raju. 1989. Groundwater markets and smallholder development: an argument and evidence from India. in Custodian and Gurui (eds.),groundwater economics. Elsevier. The Netherlands.

Klein, L. e Ian Carruthers. 1991.Farmer-Funded Irrigation: The Economics of Reform. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Smith, R. 1989. Water Transfers, Irrigation Districts, and the Compensation Problem.Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 8:446-465.

Smout, I. 1990. Farmer participation in planning, implementation and operation of small-scale irrigation projects. ODII Irrigation Management Network, Document 90/2b, London.

Uphoff, N., M. L. Wickramasinghe, and C. M. Wijayaratna.1990.n "Optimum" participation in irrigation management: problems and evidence from Sri Lanka.human organization, 49(1): 26-40.

Uphoff, N. 1986.Improving international irrigation management with farmer participation: Getting the process right. Westview, Boulder, Co.

Vaux, H. 1986. Water Shortages and Profits from Trade in Kern County, California, inWater scarcity and institutional changes.k Frederick, ed., Resources for the Future, Washington, DC.

Vermillion, DL 1990a. Potential Farmer Contributions to the Design Process: Hints from Indonesia.Irrigation and drainage systems, 4: 133-150.

Vermillion, DL 1990b. Issues of the Small-Scale Irrigation Turnover Program Issues in Indonesia: 1987 to October 1990. Background Paper, IIMI.

World Bank. 1992World Development Report 1992: Development and the Environment. Nueva York: Oxford University Press.

World Bank, 1990a.Annual Review of Evaluation Results, 1989, Report No. 8970, World Bank, Operations Evaluation Department, Washington, D.C.

World Bank, 1993.Water Resources Management, a World Bank policy paper, Banco Mundial, Washington, DC

Young, R. 1986. Why are there so few transactions between water users?American Journal of Agricultural Economics.68:1143-1151.

Financing investments in water supply and sanitation

Terence R. Lee1

1Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, Casilla 179, Vitacura, Santiago, Chile.

The reintroduction of cholera into Latin America since 1991 has drawn attention to the deplorable state of faecal sanitation in most of the region's cities. The proportion of the population supplied with sewage has increased in recent years, but not at the same rate as water supply (CEPAL, 1990a). Adding to the lack of sewerage is the lack of wastewater treatment. Only 10 percent of sewage systems provide partial treatment before discharge (PAHO, 1990). As a result, there is widespread pollution of water bodies into which urban sewage discharges, and easy transmission of diarrheal diseases through water or food is always a threatening possibility (CEPAL, 1992).

Financing investments in water and sanitation is an ongoing problem in all Latin American and Caribbean countries. Traditionally, the contribution to capital funding from operating company revenues has been very small, a direct consequence of unrealistically low tariffs. Instead, investment finance has largely been raised from government revenues through direct contributions or by underwriting loans, particularly from multilateral development banks. The amount of financial support received and the share from different sources has changed in recent years, particularly as the contribution of general tax revenues has decreased.

Funding needs are not limited to just the initial capital investment, but also include the need to generate funds to operate and maintain the systems once they are in place. In addition, the financial demands placed on water supply and sanitation systems are increasing as populations grow, water sources become more remote, and safe disposal of human and industrial waste becomes more necessary.

A recent study shows that funding for capital investments in water-related projects comes mainly from national sources (CEPAL, 1990b). Over the past decade, more than 70% of capital funding for water and sanitation expansion has come directly from national sources (PAHO, 1987). During the International Decade for Water and Sanitation, the share of external financing, including loans, in capital investment in water and sanitation was lower overall in Latin American and Caribbean countries than in African and Asian (WER) countries. , 1987). There is no reason to expect that the share of capital financing from external sources for water supply and sanitation will increase in the 1990s.

This document, based on recent studies at ECLAC (Lee and Jouravlev, 1992) and elsewhere, examines the feasibility of self-financing of water and sanitation services, including wastewater treatment, through revenue from fees. In order to achieve this, it is important that the entire population pays for the services, which is of some importance given the unequal distribution of income in most of the region's cities.


By 1980, at the beginning of the International Decade for Safe Water and Sanitation (IDWSSD), the populations of Latin America and the Caribbean were relatively well supplied with drinking water and sanitation compared to the populations of other regions of the developing world. The region has seen two decades of special investment programs and general development of drinking water supply and sewage disposal. In most countries relatively well organized water supply and sanitation facilities functioned. High levels of coverage were achieved in urban areas, particularly for drinking water, where 71% of the population was served by household connections but only 59% of the urban population was connected to sewerage systems or other forms of sanitation and excrement disposal (PAHO, 1987). Less progress has been made in rural areas, although drinking water supply systems with pipelines are being installed in the larger rural settlements in much of the region.

During the 1980s, the rate of improvement in service levels in the region slowed. Between 1980 and 1990, the proportion of the urban population with access to safe drinking water increased from only 83% to 86%, and that with access to sanitation and sewage disposal only from 59% to 60%. More has been achieved in rural areas, with access to water services increasing from 40% to 45% and sanitation from 11% to 15%. In general, the objectives of the IDWSSD have not been met.

In most countries in the region, funding for water supply and sanitation systems is insufficient to meet the capital needs of growing urban populations or to sustain existing systems. Although the supply of drinking water and waste water to the urban population has increased nominally, the services are often very irregular and of questionable quality (PAHO 1990). Not all countries have even managed to maintain the nominal service levels achieved in the past. In Buenos Aires, the proportion of the population served by the system operated by Obras Sanitarias de la Nación (OSN) has steadily decreased over the past fifty years. In 1947 94% of the population lived in a house connected to the water supply network, in 1960 only 76% and in 1980 less than 60%. Due to the lack of drinking water supply from the OSN, the population of Buenos Aires had to move on their own. Sometimes this has led to the creation of local water supply systems that perform well, but in many cases the result has been a re-emergence of sources of dubious quality and an over-reliance on individual faecal disposal systems with high potential for contamination of aquifers (Brunstein, 1988).

Income from the provision of drinking water and sewerage

Historically, the contribution to funding water and sanitation projects that came from operating company revenues has typically been very small. Cost recovery policies have rarely been applied to water supply and sanitation, even in urban areas. It is therefore not surprising to find that most of the capital funding for water and sanitation in most countries comes from government revenues, either directly or in the form of government guarantees, loans from the World Bank or the Interbank Council. American Development Bank. (CEPAL, 1990b). This source of equity financing has historically fluctuated significantly with changing policy priorities and has suffered from macroeconomic mismanagement. The severe recession of 1982-1983, the effects of which are still being felt in many countries in the region, prompted efforts to reduce the government deficit, which has reduced the inflow of general government revenue. At the same time, perceptions of the role of the public sector in the economy have changed across the region, leading to an overall reduction in the level of government activity. In particular, the need to self-fund or outsource to the private sector potentially revenue-generating public services is increasingly being considered.

Until recently, the public water and sanitation companies could not compensate for reduced government contributions to capital funding with increased funds from revenues. The resulting lack of capital funding has severely hampered not only expansion programs but also the operation and maintenance of existing systems (Israel, 1992). The poor financial condition of many utilities can be directly attributed in large part to a failure to implement a tariff policy that would generate sufficient revenue to cover the full cost of providing the service. In Mexico, for example, the total cost of providing drinking water via household connections is estimated at around 240 pesos/m3, while consumers are only charged about 40 pesos/m3(Mexico, 1989).

Some countries have been able to improve the financial situation of water and sanitation companies by pursuing sound tariff policies. In Chile, 56% of the funds invested in water and sanitation services by the National Sanitation Works Service (SENDOS) over the period 1985-1989 were generated from tariff income and more recently from a tariff policy to allow the services to cover your entire investment. Income needs (Chile, 1993). In Brazil, the sector has been partially self-financing since the adoption of the National Sanitation Plan (PLANASA) in 1971 (World Bank, 1989). Political difficulties seriously reduced the plan's self-sufficiency for several years, but by 1990 almost 80% of the sector's capital needs were covered by revolving funds, topped up by tariff revenues, as stipulated by PLANASA (World Bank, 1989).

However, it is not just the amount of the fees that determines the contribution of the income to capital financing. Water that is pumped but not accounted for reduces revenue and can also increase the need for new investment. The experience of most water utilities in the region shows that high non-revenue water values ​​are more often due to deficiencies in operational management, primarily billing and collection problems and inadequate policies for dealing with high leak rates. in distribution systems (Yepes, 1990). For example, in Mexico it has been estimated that for every 100 liters pumped in a typical distribution network, the user will receive 60, be billed for 40 and end up paying only 30. Also, the collection of tariffs was characterized by delays in billing about 6–9 months (Mexico, 1989).

Reducing business losses does not usually require large capital expenditures, but may require changes in management practices that are difficult to implement in a bureaucratic environment. However, better corporate governance can replace or defer the need for new capital investments and also reduce production, pumping and treatment costs. Reducing water use from 60% to 30% in a city growing at 3.5% per year would delay investment in new production facilities by up to 16 years.

One of the most serious consequences of inadequate tariff structures and an additional argument for introducing fully cost-based tariffs is that low tariffs for water supply and sanitation do not usually benefit the poor. Typically, it is the poor who, due to a lack of investment, do not have adequate access to public drinking water supplies and are therefore forced to buy water from private water vendors at prices well in excess of what they charge. It has been estimated that the cost of water purchased from water vendors is 17 times higher in Lima, Peru, 17 to 100 times higher in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and 16-16 times higher in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. are up to 34 times higher than the price charged • by the utility (World Bank, 1988). In Quito, Ecuador, unconnected households paid US$4.31 for 4 cubic meters, while the water utility provided 50 cubic meters for that price (USAID, 1991).

Sources of funding for investments in water supply and sanitation

The financing structure of investments in water supply and sanitation projects varies greatly in the countries of the region. In Bolivia, for example, external sources traditionally account for around 77% of total funding. The share of internal funds was relatively higher in rural areas, while external sources of finance accounted for about 79% of investment funds in urban areas (Bolivia, 1988).

In Colombia, however, the most important sources of financing for investments in the recent past have been generated internally. External debt accounted for only about 45% of the funding, with 30% coming from central government revenue, 15% from operating company revenue and the remaining 10% from other local sources. Firms in major cities relied primarily on external borrowing, which accounted for about 50% of their total investment, while operating income accounted for another 35%. In contrast, funding for drinking water supply and sanitation in medium-sized and small towns and rural areas depended more on central government contributions, which accounted for 45% of total funding, while external loans contributed 40% (Colombia, 1988).

In Mexico, most of the funding for drinking water and sanitation investments comes from the federal government, whose contributions are estimated to account for almost 84% of the total. State governments contributed another 4% to the investment and only 10% was provided by external sources. Federal investment was reduced beginning in 1984 due to the country's economic problems. This decline was accompanied by the increasing importance of internal and external loans for investment financing. Dependence on borrowed funds and subsidies is now being reduced through a mix of measures including better management, marginal cost pricing and other measures designed to make operating companies financially independent. In addition, there are efforts to increase funding for the sector through a better and more flexible mix of federal and other resources and by encouraging private investment and community participation (Mexico, 1989).

In Peru, the contribution of national sources to investment financing has been around 69% in recent years. Due to the decline in the volume of external financing, the share of financing from national sources increased from 51% in 1985 to around 80% in 1987 (Mendoza and Sánchez, 1988). About 61% of total investment went to urban areas, including 30% to Lima, and only 10% to rural areas (Prialé, 1989). An analysis of the 1986-1995 investment program shows that investment in urban areas is financed mainly from operating income and community and user contributions, with only a lesser extent from government revenue and loans. In contrast, the financing of investments in rural areas comes mainly from external loans and government revenues (Mendoza and Sánchez, 1988).

In Uruguay, between 1985 and 1989, 63% of investment funding for water supply and sanitation was from national sources, with 32% coming from operating income, just over 15% from the central government, and 16% from various sources including suppliers and users of equipment. The remaining 37% of the funding came from IDB and World Bank loans.

There are a few private water supply and sanitation companies in the region. Unlike most public water and sanitation companies, the capital investments in these companies are funded almost entirely from tariff revenues, either directly or through loans.


Self-funding water supply and sanitation systems can be defined as those in which tariff revenues cover the total cost of operating and maintaining existing facilities, the capital cost of expanding coverage to address the existing supply deficit and to serve the increased population provides a reasonable return on invested capital and also cover the associated costs of providing adequate treatment prior to discharge into the environment. The adoption of such criteria for the management of water and sanitation systems would not mean that companies cannot obtain credit from national banks, multilateral development banks or other credit institutions. However, this would mean that the full cost of the loans would be paid from proceeds from the sale of water and sewage services. Subsidies would not be ruled out either, but subsidies would clearly be explicit transfers for socio-political reasons. Adoption of such criteria would lay the groundwork for companies issuing bonds or shares to the investing public in general, as is now happening in Chile (El Mercurio, 1992).

The rate charged to customers would depend on the long-run average and marginal costs, the interest rate on the loans, the payback period, the rate at which the existing deficit in the provision of the service is covered, the rate at which the population is charged, plants to be supplied is growing and the costs for the operation and maintenance of existing plants are increasing.

Can tariffs be set to cover all costs?

To explore the possibility of financing water and sanitation services through tariffs, a recent ECLAC study estimated what tariffs would be needed based on the known per capita unit cost of providing urban drinking water and sewerage per household connection (WHO, 1987) . ). It was assumed that each customer would bear the full cost of maintenance and operation. The amortized cost of capital was calculated using different real interest rates, 2% and 10%, and different payback periods, 25, 50 and 75 years. Calculations were made for each country individually based on the minimum, maximum and average fees required (Table 1).


(Cost in US$ per person served)


drinking water supply











































Costa Rica







Dominican Republic














The saviour




















































































Fuente: Lee and Jouravlev, 1992.

Use: Minimum - interest rate 2%, payback period 75 years, average - average of all interest rates and periods, maximum - interest rate 10%, payback period 25 years.

These calculations assumed that new customers would be connected proportionally each year through the end of the century, and that new customers getting connected would pay on the same basis as the population connected at the beginning of the period. . . It was also assumed that all those already affiliated would pay the full capital cost of their affiliation from 1989, the base year for the calculations. The rates calculated would only cover the amortized cost of capital of existing assets. The total cost of achieving eventual self-sufficiency would be approximately 26% higher if one included items other than capital investments. The total costs of the services include a number of additional concepts in addition to the replacement costs for the existing connections. These include capital investments to serve new customers, the rehabilitation of existing systems, many of which are in very poor condition, the cost of staff training and institutional modernization, and finally the cost of waste treatment. Water treatment costs are assumed to be included in per capita estimates of drinking water costs.

The new capital investments that would be required to scale out the systems to achieve full coverage of urban populations vary significantly between countries, depending on the level of existing services and expected population growth. It is estimated that they would range from 48.2% of the total cost of service delivery in Uruguay to 85% in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the countries where current levels of service delivery are lowest and where a high population growth is expected.

Upgrading the systems to the year 2000 by the year 2000 and maintaining and restoring the existing services would entail the need to add an average per person fee of almost $2.00 per month to the tariff in addition to the previous costs to include estimated amortized capital of existing development. Water supply and sanitation facilities. However, the costs and thus the amount of the additional fee would again vary considerably from country to country depending on the existing level of service (Table 2).


(Costs in US$ per person and month)


monthly fee











Costa Rica


Dominican Republic




The saviour






















Fuente: Lee and Jouravlev

Use:1- Includes the capital costs of supplying drinking water and wastewater from house connections, the higher costs of rehabilitating existing systems, upgrading wastewater treatment, and the costs of training and institutional modernization.


In order for fee-based financing of water supply and sewerage to become a reality, fixed fees must be paid regularly by all users. This does not mean that all users must necessarily pay the same tariff. Tariff discrimination is acceptable and necessary for the effective delivery of such vital social services. However, services should not be made available free of charge to even the poorest customers.

When setting tariffs, it is unrealistic not to take into account the significant income inequalities that exist in most countries and the large proportion of the population living in poverty, estimated at over 195 million in 1990, of which 115 million lived in urban areas. ECLAC, 1993). The tariffs must therefore be reasonable both in relation to the turnover and the costs of installing, operating and maintaining the services.

It is generally accepted that the cost of water and sanitation services for the poorest sections of the population should not exceed more than a small fraction, 1 or 2 per cent, of their income. For example, in OECD countries it is estimated that the cost of water and sanitation is 1 per cent of median disposable household income (OECD, 1987). In Chile, however, grants are paid if the fees exceed 5% of family income. Determining the income of the poor is not easy in most Latin American societies, where many of the poor derive much of their income in kind and their cash income may come from a variety of sources rather than a single salary paid by one employer is paid.

It is therefore necessary to use other indicators to get an idea of ​​the possible impact of water and wastewater charges on revenues. Information on official minimum wages is available for several countries. The official minimum wage in the late 1980s ranged from $50 to $110 for the countries for which information is available, although additional bonuses are also paid in most cases. The minimum wage represents gross income, not net income, and does not include the payment of social security contributions or other deductions. However, the impact of these deductions varies widely, not only between countries but from one employer to another depending on the type of employment contract. It is therefore not possible to use other than these gross amounts for comparisons. In addition, the proportion of the population receiving the minimum wage varies greatly. In some countries like Uruguay the typical salary is significantly higher, in others it is lower.

From the estimates of the costs of providing aqueduct and sewerage services, the proportion of these costs in relation to both the minimum monthly income and the average manufacturing wage can be estimated (Table 3). The cost of providing water and sanitation through domestic connections is generally in the range of 1-2% of minimum wage, at only minimal estimates. In some of the poorest countries, the estimated cost of water and sanitation, even at the minimum cost case, is more than 2% of average wages. The cost of water supply and sewerage is the lowest proportion of the minimum wage in Uruguay, 1.75 percent at minimum cost and 3.91 percent at maximum cost. Relative to the average manufacturing wage, Venezuela, Chile and Colombia have the lowest costs. Costs make up the highest proportion of the minimum wage in Ecuador and Colombia.

There are two important caveats to be made about the analysis results presented here:

·It is not possible to determine the actual cost of replacing existing equipment. However, the estimated cost of a new connection is likely an overestimate of the actual cost of replacing an existing installation... The monthly fee for this investment is likely to be less than the estimated fees used in the analysis.

·The distribution of water consumption is very skewed. The poor tend to consume much less than the average consumption in any urban system.



Average salary in manufacturing

minimum wage

Minimal cost

average cost

maximum Cost

Minimal cost

average cost

maximum Cost




































Costa Rica







Dominican Republic














The saviour
























































Fuente: Lee and Jouravlev.

Use:1- Includes the capital costs of supplying drinking water and wastewater from house connections, the higher costs of rehabilitating existing systems, upgrading wastewater treatment, and the costs of training and institutional modernization.

Poorer households use less water for a variety of reasons, but mainly because water use for drinking and cooking accounts for a small proportion of total household needs (Gibbons, 1986). In a recent study of water demand in Mexico, the authors present histograms of water use in several Mexican cities (Saavedra et al, 1991). All histograms show similar distributions of water demand, with the top 30 percent of households using half of the total. In some of the cities included in the study, the concentration of consumption is even greater, for example in the city of Victoria, Tamaulipas, 2% of private users consume 40% of the water. This was the most extreme case in the sample, but similar concentrations of water use were observed in Juárez, Chihuahua, and La Paz, Baja California Sur. In general, the bias and concentration in the distribution of water use was remarkably similar across cities (Figure 1).

The water consumption data for Santiago de Chile also show a connection between income and consumption, but the information is less precise. The population of Greater Santiago has universal access to drinking water through household connections. However, within the metropolitan area there are significant differences in the apparent per capita water use of communities. In communities with high-income households, consumption is between 500 and 600 liters per capita and day. In communities where average family income is lower, per capita consumption ranges from 100 to 200 liters (Icaza and Rodríguez, 1988).

The Mexican study and the Santiago data confirm the pattern of residential water use found in other previous studies across a wide range of social and economic situations. HeJohns Hopkins University residential water use projectshowed a clear relationship between the level of household income and the demand for water in the United States (Howe and Linaweaver, 1967). The conclusion was that the influence of income on household water requirements is reflected in higher water consumption for electrical appliances, more bathrooms per dwelling and for lawn irrigation. In New Delhi, India, a similar relationship has been found between household water needs and household income levels (Lee, 1969).

Figure 1. Distribution of water consumption in Mexican cities

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (25)

Those: Saavedra et al.
The tariff policy implications of this distorted pattern of household water demand lie in the opportunities it creates for subsidies for poor households. In addition, the possibility of applying discriminatory tariffs to increase economic efficiency in the provision of aqueduct and sewerage services is addressed; That is, such a policy would increase social benefits more than decrease private benefits.

The customs policy applied in Chile provides an example of the possibilities. The basis of the policy is that water and sanitation companies are self-financing and able to attract private investment, and that all consumers pay for water. In its current form, the directive has only existed since 1990, but the impact on water and sanitation companies' finances has been dramatic. In 1992, the 13 public companies made a combined profit of $10,000,000 after meeting the cost of servicing their debt. In the same year, the companies invested more than US$150,000,000 (Table 4).


(millions from 1992 pesos)





Operating Profit/Loss

Total Win/Loss


Operating Profit/Loss

Total Win/Loss



































































































Fuente: CORFO.
The other aspect of tariff policy is the subsidy for low-income households up to a consumption of 15 million3a month. This subsidy of 75% of the levy is paid through the municipalities to the water utilities for all households where the cost is 15 million3exceeds 5% of household income per month. The subsidy will be modified to raise the consumption limit to 20m3per month and increase the subsidy to a maximum of 80%. In 1992, an average of 346,881 households received subsidies equivalent to 14% of total connections at a cost of just over $6,000,000. The new rules are expected to increase the number of households receiving subsidies to over 700,000 and the cost to $11,000,000.


Since the adoption of the Punta del Este Charter in 1961, great efforts have been made to improve water and sanitation services for the urban populations of Latin America and the Caribbean. However, these efforts have always fallen short of the goals set (CEPAL, 1990a). One of the main obstacles to implementation was the weak financial situation of the public water and sanitation companies. The lack of financial resources was compounded by generally poor management. The consequences of both of these factors have caused many cities to fail to match service levels with population growth and in some cases even resulted in a decline in service offerings. Poor management and limited operating revenue were a significant limitation for even the best performing systems. There are therefore many reasons to look for new approaches to water supply and sanitation in urban areas.

The push for self-financing of drinking water and sanitation is a major challenge for the countries of Latin America. Financial restrictions can also be lifted in the poorest countries in the region by establishing tariff systems that generate sufficient income to cover the entire cost of water and sewage connections in households for the entire population. However, applying such tariff structures would not be easy and would require a significant change in attitudes and management practices in the water supply and sanitation sector: a change that may not be possible without drastic institutional changes.

The need for institutional innovation is the strongest argument for privatizing water and sanitation, although other types of institutional change can be just as effective. Privatization need not take the form of selling entire systems to private contractors, although in many cases this may be the preferred alternative (Coing and Montano, 1989). Concessions of partial or full service provision, as in Chile and Mexico, can be just as powerful an innovative force and would equally require tariffs to cover all costs of service provision including a reasonable return on investment.

What needs to be achieved, however, is not privatizationper seRather, the region's urban water and sanitation services are becoming self-funding public services, regardless of who owns them. Unless systems are self-financing, regardless of other reforms, investment and service delivery will remain under-performing and service quality will remain poor. Achieving financial self-sufficiency is the great challenge not only for water supply and sanitation policy in Latin America and the Caribbean in the last decade of the 20th century, but for water management policy as a whole. If the water supply and sanitation companies do not achieve financial independence, it is undeniable that the waters in the immediate vicinity of the cities of Latin America and the Caribbean will continue to be polluted; Situation that jeopardizes any efforts to improve the quality of the environment in the countries of the region in general.


Bolivia. 1988. Department of Urban Affairs, National Directorate of Urban Infrastructure, Drinking Water and Sewerage Company, Directorate of Environmental Sanitation of the Department of Social Welfare and Public Health, Profile of Resource Mobilization, Consultative Meeting of the Decade, August 29-September 1, LaPaz.

(Video) Clean Water and Sanitation, Prof Fiona Regan, Debbie Chapman and Charlie Coakley - November 25th

Brunstein, F. 1988. Crisis and Public Services, CEUR Notebooks no. 23, Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CEUR), Buenos Aires.

Camarena Larriva, A. 1989. Assessment of the Situation at the End of the International Decade of Water and Sanitation in Mexico and Prospects for the Future, Meeting of the Working Group of Leaders of Water and Sanitation in Latin America, Review of the Progress of the International Decade of Water Supply and Sanitation , PAHO, World Bank, IDB, Washington, D.C., Oct. 10-12 May.

Chile, Inspectorate of Sanitary Services. 1993. Annual Report, 1992, Santiago.

Fifteen, H. and I. Montano. 1989. Privatization, an alternative on the water? Brazil and Argentina, Notebooks of Latin America, No.:

Kolumbien, Nationale Planungsabteilung. 1988. The Potable Water and Sanitation Sector in Colombia, Regional Seminar on Water Supply and Sanitation for Low-Income Groups in Rural and Peri-urban Communities, Recife, Brasilien, 28. September-6. Oktober, Dokument Nr. 06.

ECLAC. 1992. (United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), Water Management in Metropolitan Areas of Latin America, LC/R.1156, Santiago.

ECLAC. 1990a. (United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean), Drinking Water and Sanitation in Latin America and the Caribbean from Punta del Este, LC/G.1591 (SES.23/17), Santiago.

ECLAC. 1990b. (United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) Latin America and the Caribbean: Water-Related Investments in the 1980's, LC/R.904, Santiago.

ECLAC. 1993. (United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean) Poverty Profiles in Latin America in the Early 1990s, LC/G.1766 (Conf. 82/8), Santiago.

The Mercury. 1992. Private have access to up to 10% of plumbing companies, August 6, Santiago.

Gibbons, DC 1986. The Economic Value of Water, Resources for the Future, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore.

Howe, C.W. and F.P. Linaweaver, Jr. 1967. The Effects of Price on Residential Water Demand and Its Relation to System Design and Pricing Structure, Water Resources Research, vol. 3, no: 1.

Icaza, A.M. and A. Rodriguez. 1988. Case Study Report: Drinking Water, Santiago de Chile, SOUTH, September.

Israel, A. 1992. Issues for Infrastructure Management in the 1990s, World Bank Discussion Papers, Washington.

Lee, TR 1969. Residential Water Demand and EconomicDevelopment, Universidad de Toronto, Department of Geography ResearchPublications, Nr.: 2, Toronto.

Lee, T. R. und A. Jouralev, 1992. Self-financing water supply and sanitation services, CEPAL Review, Nr. 48.

Leon Mendoza, S. und P. Agüero Sanchez. 1988. Water and sanitation systems: Peru, Regional Seminar on Water Supply and Sanitation for Low-Income Groups in Rural and Periurban Communities, Recife, Brasilien, 28. September 6. Oktober, Dokument-Nr. 17

Mexico, National Water Commission. 1989. The National Water Use Program, 1989-1994, unpublished draft.

OECD. 1987. (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Pricing of Water Services, Paris.

PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization). 1987. Environmental Health Program, International Decade for Safe Water and Sanitation, Regional Progress Report, Environment Series No. 6, Washington.

PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization). 1990. Environmental Factors Affecting Health Conditions in America, Washington. '

Prialé J. A. 1989. Review of the progress of the International Decade of Water Supply and Sanitation 1981-1990 in Peru, Meeting of the Working Group of Managers of Water Supply and Sanitation Services in Latin America, Review of the Progress of the International Decade of Supply of Water and Sanitation, PAHO, Weltbank, IDB, Washington, 10.-12. Mai.

Rego Monteiro, J.R. 1989. Institutional Empowerment: the PLANASA Experience, Brazil, Paper presented at the Seminar on Innovation and Development in Water Utilities, San Jose, Costa Rica, December.

Saavedra, J.C., G. Luco, and M.G. Macay. 1991 Analysis of Drinking Water Consumption Histograms in Mexico, Hydraulic Engineering in Mexico, Volume VI, No. 1.

Uruguay, State Sanitary Administration. 1990. Current Situation and Management Summary April 1985 -December 1989 Corrected version.

YOU SAID. 1991. (United States, Agency for International Development). The Affordability of Urban Water and Sewerage Extension in Ecuador, WASH Field Report No. 316

WHO (Weltgesundheitsorganisation) (1987) Division of Environmental Health, Community Water Supply Unit, The International Water Supply and Sanitation Decade Review of mid-Decade Progress (per Dezember 1985), CWS Series of Cooperative Action for the Decade, September.

Weltbank (1988), World Development Report, Washington.

World Bank (1989) Seminar on Innovation and Development in Water Utilities, San Jose, Costa Rica, December.

Yepes, Guillermo, Management Practices and Operation of Municipal and Regional Water and Sewerage Companies in Latin America and the Caribbean Urban Infrastructure and Development Documents, INU Report 61, World Bank, Washington, 1990, p. 12

Mechanisms for financing the development of infrastructure for public works

Jose A. Martinez1

1Regional Economist, US Army Corps of Engineers, West Indies Office. Statements and opinions presented herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

The purpose of this document is to describe, with reference to Puerto Rico, various economic principles that can be used to determine who should pay for public works and various financing mechanisms to implement those principles.


An important measure of a nation's well-being is the quality and extent of the services provided by its public works. Water supply and sanitation facilities contribute to the quality of public health. Roads and traffic facilities have a major impact on spatial development.

Economic growth and development depend on locational advantages; Companies are looking for areas that offer greater profit opportunities. In this context, investment in public works can be viewed as factors of production like capital and labor for private enterprise; but in this case these production inputs are paid for indirectly through taxes or directly through royalties. Thus, public capital can increase a firm's productivity, either by complementing private investment, as in the case of transport, or by contributing directly to production, as in the case of energy or water.

Trends in infrastructure capital accumulation and spending levels indicate that investment in public works has declined relative to total government spending, the value of total annual output of goods and services, and even relative to private investment. These trends indicate a large gap between supply and demand, which is seriously affecting the volume and quality of services provided.

In order to provide the required level of service to fill deficits and meet future demand, a commitment must be made to increase the capacity of public works. Capacity can be increased by improving maintenance of existing inventory, using existing facilities more efficiently, implementing alternative low-cost service systems, and ultimately increasing through increased investment. Any strategy to achieve this goal must include meeting the financing needs of public works by increasing the proportion of costs borne by beneficiaries.


In private markets, the sale of goods and services finances their production. Consumer demand, along with available technology, determines the company's operational scale and production level. Users could fund a larger proportion of many public works in areas such as transportation, water supply, wastewater treatment, power supply and waste systems. Because these facilities serve identifiable consumers, their consumption can be metered and priced; those who do not pay may be denied services or, if they need them, subsidized for their use.

There are advantages to charging beneficiaries directly for services. One of these benefits is that all beneficiaries can be made to pay their fair share. This attribution of fees can help avoid the overconstruction that can accompany the assumption that anything that is public is free or should be offered at a low price.

Funding mechanisms that reflect costs can help solve a major funding problem that arises from the nature of public works projects. Long-lived, slowly deteriorating facilities, as is the case with many of these facilities, require large intermittent construction or replacement costs. The resources to cover these expenses must be available in a timely manner.

The use of public building facilities, on the other hand, is usually continuous. For example, water is used daily, commutes are regular, and goods are shipped predictably. When funding is tied to usage, revenues can become more stable and predictable, leading to better maintenance, refurbishment, and renewal.

The principle of beneficiary funding has some limitations. If revenues are not set at the level needed to fund the service or installation, they will not send the right signals for resource allocation. Even if there are recipients who cannot pay the full cost of the service, grants from the general fund may be required.


Earmarked taxes, usage fees, and the formation of circles or special agencies are three usage-based financing techniques. Each is a different way of relating payments to benefits and separating those payments from other public funds, a process facilitated by trust funds. Each technique has certain advantages and limitations as a financing tool.

associated taxes

Allocated taxes are used for specific public spending programs or projects. When such taxes are tied to the benefits provided, the tax acts as a usage fee. For example, taxes on gas and driver's licenses are generally considered to be indirect charges for using highways.

Allocation has many benefits for public works funding. It can be an opportunity to introduce new spending or tax programs despite austerity measures. Legislators are often more likely to adopt a new tax when they can see that there will be clear benefits from its implementation.

Although Puerto Rico's highway program is relatively large and the total expenditures are well in excess of the allocated amounts, these funds have a significant impact on the level of expenditures for this program as they are used to issue debt.

The smaller the reported income, the greater the effect of the expenditure on the program in question. For example, earmarking revenue from local landfills will have a greater impact on the operations of this facility than a government tax earmarked for a variety of environmental improvements.

The allocation does not always lead to additional expenditure if the legislature is to use the allocated funds for a specific purpose. For example, the US Congress has deferred appropriations to federal infrastructure trust funds for budgetary purposes. Elsewhere, earmarked funds that are not appropriate for specific projects or programs are placed in the general fund.

Whether or not they increase spending, allocation provisions can encourage better program planning and management. A consistent and reliable source of income can help ensure funds are available when public works are needed. This stability can offset the dominance of short-term budgeting at all levels of government. In general, the political system encourages a short-term needs-based approach at the expense of long-term planning. The allocation provides some funding security so that service providers can take a long-term perspective.

However, the mapping also has some limitations. Too broad allocation rules can lead to serious budgetary problems for the state. In addition, earmarked taxes often generate less than the amount of revenue needed for the optimal intended function. Therefore, in some cases, allocation may not have a clear advantage over ordinary credit as a public works support tool. If the allocation does not constrain budgetary decisions, it is relatively ineffective as it results in earmarked funds replacing other funds that would have been increased anyway.

Puerto Rico does not use widespread taxes to fund public works or services. However, some public bodies received a significant amount of earmarked funds from the general fund. One of the largest taxes levied is on gasoline. These funds go to the P.R. highway authority.

The availability of these funds has enabled the Department of Transportation to undertake an aggressive and extensive road construction program that subsidizes part of the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation program and public works and part of San Juan's public transportation system. The Puerto Rico Highway Authority also plans to build a light rail system for the San Juan metropolitan area by the end of this decade.

usage fees

User fees are payments made by households, businesses or other consumers to a government agency or other public developer for services. Public works user fees generally do not cover the full cost of providing services.

The type and amount of the user fee influence decisions about the use and expansion of capacities. A poorly designed user fee can provide a steady stream of revenue, but it does not encourage efficient use of available public works services. Service prices set to cover the cost of providing the services can be used to fairly and efficiently allocate costs to different users and classes of users.

Two mechanisms are common in determining usage fees. The average cost price determines the tariffs by dividing the estimated budget of the facility and/or total output minus the expected subsidies by production units or users. A second method adjusts operating deficits through rate increases, other internal revenue streams, or subsidies. Two underused methods that can lead to efficient usage and expansion decisions are pricing based on the marginal cost of delivering an additional unit of service and pricing based on the cost of service delivery during peak periods.

Most public works contractors in Puerto Rico based their pricing or rate structure on the average cost method. Tariffs are set to cover most operating and maintenance costs and generate funds for capital improvements. However, wages need to be reviewed regularly as they do not automatically adjust to all cost increases, particularly wage increases resulting from collective bargaining with unions. Revising public service tariffs is one of the most difficult political decisions on the island. Some companies have operating deficits year after year before they are allowed to review their rates. In some cases, financial companies were formed to channel funds from other sources to cause problems for public companies. Efforts to maximize revenue for operating agencies through timely collections, elimination of illegal or unrecorded corrections, accurate metering, cost control, and increased productivity have not met with much success.

In several service areas, increased usage fees could help manage facility usage and make certain facilities self-sufficient. Airport user charges could help manage traffic and extend the use of existing facility capacity to that of competing airports. Some airports use higher peak fares to curb general aviation use at busy airports or need to use other airports.

Full cost pricing of water supply and wastewater treatment facilities could cover a higher proportion of these services. To encourage full-cost pricing, US Environmental Protection Agency loans from the revolving fund created under amendments to the US Clean Water Act of 1987 could require wastewater projects to cover operating costs, debt reduction, and a capital reserve fund for future facility cleanup .

Utilization charges can provide useful signals about capacity needs. When the US Army Corps of Engineers introduced cost sharing in 1986, several projects were redesigned with lower initial costs.

In some cases, users should probably be charged less than the full cost of the Services. For example, mass transit benefits both users and motorists using less congested roads. In order to take this into account, it would make sense to add a general tax source, such as a regional sales tax or an earmarked petrol tax, to the user charges, so that indirect beneficiaries and direct users can contribute to the costs. The part of the income from general taxes must reflect the part of the benefits corresponding to the indirect beneficiaries.

Funding public works to cover the full costs through user charges also has potential disadvantages and undesirable social consequences. The poor and people living in hard-to-serve areas may find public works unaffordable when the services are offered at full price. Society has an interest in ensuring that the environment is protected and that water and sanitation facilities are universally available even when a particular facility cannot be supported solely by its users. Select grants from general funds can help make services affordable when needed. For example, in Puerto Rico the expansion of water supply in rural areas is subsidized from the general fund and until 1992 poor families with a consumption of less than 400 Kv. per hour and month were also subsidized from the general fund.

A special application of the user fee concept has emerged in the financing of public works in growth areas. Local requirements for new development have long included the provision of on-site infrastructure such as electricity, telephone, sewer and water connections. In the last decade, many communities have also begun requiring developers to fund expansion or construction of off-site infrastructure. These requirements are implemented through development fees and levies. Development fees are fixed or negotiated fees imposed on developers to fund infrastructure, while levies are facilities built by developers and dedicated to the city or public body providing the service.

Development fees and charges are controversial instruments of public funding. Opponents of its use argue that providing community-wide infrastructure is a municipal responsibility that everyone must pay for, and that newcomers to an area should not bear the increased cost of fixing problems that arose before they arrived. They also claim that these fees add significantly to housing costs.

On the other hand, those calling for its implementation argue that these charges are necessary to avoid unfair sharing of infrastructure burdens caused by new construction. They argue that new developments generally result in higher taxes and utility bills when the necessary infrastructure is funded from traditional revenue sources, although new owners pay taxes and utility bills like everyone else.

While these fees raise difficult administrative, legal, political, and technical issues, their magnitude suggests they are here to stay in the local financial arena. The PR Aqueduct and Sewer Authority has implemented some of these funding mechanisms, albeit to a limited extent, while the PR Electric Power Authority has established practices to service industrial parks and other private facilities.

However, despite their magnitude, these fees are not a solution for municipalities struggling to pay for public works, as they generally do not cover most of the costs of providing public works for new developments.

districts and special agencies

Special districts are limited-purpose government units that have the power to levy taxes, usage fees, and other fees. Public authorities perform similar functions, but are not considered government entities for the purposes of debt liability or government constitutional restrictions. Both offer to shift infrastructure funding from all taxpayers to those who are served directly.

Special districts for public works allow municipalities to fund public utilities that they may not be able to fund through general governments.

Special districts also provide governments with an opportunity to work together in handling public works that affect more than one government. Special districts that cross court lines can help ensure a facility is built and operated at the optimal scale.

Some special districts are better placed than general governments to keep existing facilities in good working order, but this benefit is not universal. Districts and agencies' maintenance and rehabilitation records range from excellent to poor, as do cities and other governments. In cities with budget problems and construction work being postponed, county and agency-run facilities also suffer from disinvestment. This suggests that an area's economic vitality has at least as much influence on the state of its public works as the governmental structures in the area.

Counties and agencies that haven't deferred maintenance are the ones with strong, independent revenue streams that are protected from budget cuts in times of tight budgets. Profitable facilities tend to hold up better than loss-making facilities such as mass transit systems. Earmarked taxes related to bond issuance can protect operating budgets, while reliance on operating subsidies from general-purpose governments makes them vulnerable.

In short, dedicated districts and public works delivery agencies can provide opportunities to overcome the fiscal, bureaucratic, and geographic limitations of general purpose governments. Because their revenue streams are separate from competing priorities, districts could theoretically make better choices in terms of size, price, and maintenance.

In practice, however, the fact that most districts are not self-sufficient means that they are not isolated from the funding problems of multipurpose governments. Inadequate pricing techniques and political limitations on the scope of operations further limit the benefits of districts and agencies. Insufficient accountability and coordination with general purpose governments can also limit the effectiveness of special districts. Care must be taken when using these districts that they are accountable to the electorate or to the multipurpose governments that make up the districts.

Puerto Rico began developing its infrastructure centrally from the early 1940s, to achieve this, companies or the public sector were created. The first public bodies were part of political and social movements whose main objective was to eradicate the extreme poverty that characterized most of the island at the time.

Public companies had to develop their own resources, hire the best managers and technicians, be separated from political decision-making, and be flexible and innovative in their organization.

The experience with the first companies was very good, so that new companies were formed to take over other public services and even some poorly run private services.

In fiscal 1992, half of the state budget of about $6.5 billion was spent by public companies employing more than 60,000 people. The 1993 operating budget alone for the public corporations responsible for public works was nearly $2.5 billion, while the budget for capital improvements was an additional $1.4 billion. Their property, plant and equipment has been valued at nearly $10 billion and they employ approximately 30,500 people.

Every public corporation has a board of directors appointed by the governor. In the case of the PR Aqueduct and Sewer Authority and the PR Electric Power Authority, two of the board members are elected by their respective clients. These committees meet regularly. In coordination with the governor, they appoint the executive director, create and follow the company's vision, goals and objectives, its annual budget and capital investment program. The managing director is responsible for the management and control of the company.

The coordination and integration of each company's programs and projects is performed by the Puerto Rico Planning Board, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Development Bank, which is the tax representative of the companies.

The Planning Committee is responsible for preparing and recommending a comprehensive development plan and a four-year investment program to the Governor. This last document consists of:

- Description of the socio-economic objectives to be pursued for the four-year period and the activities to be carried out by the different companies in order to achieve these objectives and objectives.

- Delineation of urban and rural development patterns and objectives to protect and improve the environment.

- Resource estimates for the program and possible sources of funding.

The central government's annual operating budget and the capital improvement program prepared by the Office of Management and Budget must be consistent with the planning committee's comprehensive development plan and four-year investment program.


In recent years, many governments have involved private companies in the financing, planning, construction and operation of public facilities and services. These agreements provide tax benefits for private companies and cost reductions for governments.

Agreements with the private sector sometimes offer potential benefits.

- maintenance. Fiscal pressures from state and local governments have contributed to the lack of maintenance. Private companies have an incentive to maintain the facilities because maintenance costs are tax-deductible business expenses.

- Set priorities. Governments must balance public works against other spending priorities. As a result, capital improvements and maintenance are often deferred in favor of operating costs. Private companies, on the other hand, have less competitive responsibility. This should lead to more efficient construction, maintenance and operational decisions.

- Performance penalties. Private companies can lose contracts or profitability due to underperformance. There are generally no equivalent sanctions for public bodies.

In recent years, virtually all public bodies in Puerto Rico have taken initiatives to privatize some of their services. The Puerto Rico Highway Authority has set a precedent by becoming the first entity under United States jurisdiction to have a private company design, build and operate a more than $100 million toll road project. The project connects the airport to the central business district. The Puerto Rico Port Authority privatized the operation and maintenance of various dock facilities in the Port of San Juan. The PR Aqueduct and Sewer Authority enters into agreements with some private companies to operate and manage some of their regional wastewater treatment facilities. Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority is also considering several private company proposals for gas and coal-fired power plant regeneration projects. The previous government spent about two years in talks with international companies about selling their phone company to set up two permanent funds, one for education and the other for infrastructure development. Unfortunately no agreement was reached other than the sale of a subsidiary that handles long distance calls.


The political debates on infrastructure financing revolve around three questions:

- How much should we spend?
- Who should pay?
- How should the effort be financed?
The answers to these questions are interdependent. How much you spend depends on who is paying and how the fees are collected. The chosen financing method in turn determines whether the income is sufficient and reliable.

Public works should be priced in such a way that direct users, indirect beneficiaries and waste generators bear the costs of the services. When prices reflect costs, the public use of a facility and their willingness to pay for services indicate the appropriate scale and distribution of public works. Better information about the relationship between usage patterns and charges makes using this approach easier. More sophisticated pricing techniques can then be developed. However, subsidies from the General Fund will continue to be necessary to promote the societal interest in quality services and to maintain a fair and affordable distribution of services.

The various special financing techniques mentioned above can improve the management of public works. Public works lend themselves particularly well to specialized financing techniques because of their long lifespan, need for ongoing maintenance, and uneven replacement and refurbishment costs. In addition, a clear cost-benefit relationship often promotes easier acceptance of new spending programs by voters and legislators. The clarification of this connection could be particularly important for the financing of new requirements such as the disposal of solid waste.

However, these techniques are not foolproof. At all levels, the political process responds to changing public priorities, independent of institutional rigidities and constraints. Legislators must not appropriate already accumulated trust fund balances; Earned revenue can be offset by reduced general fund expenditures, and districts or special agencies are unable to fulfill their mandate due to their financial dependence on multipurpose governments.

Designing appropriate financial arrangements to ensure the proper operation and maintenance of water supply facilities

Enrique Moncada1and Vinio Floris²

1Nationale Agraruniversität, LaMolina, Lima, Peru
² South Florida Water District, West PalmBeach, Florida, USA.
1 Introduction

The operation and maintenance of water supply facilities can be considered as a cornerstone of the planning, design and implementation of water resource infrastructure. However, while developed countries have focused their goals on the proper operation and maintenance of such systems, developing countries have focused their efforts on building water resource systems programs.

The operation and maintenance of water resource systems is successful in industrialized nations because it is thought of globally. The rules of operation are established in the planning phase and refined during the planning and construction of the infrastructure. The same applies to maintenance, which is a key factor in the efficient operation of a water supply system.

The situation of developing countries has not only created a discontinuity in the process of planning and management of water resources, but has also caused high social and economic costs. Interrupting these processes and the resulting complications sometimes prove more costly than the original problem.

Latin America, particularly Peru, has been no exception to the lack of such programs. Issues such as financial difficulties, the lack of integrated responsibilities between the different sectors, institutional problems in either the government sector or the water user sector have contributed to aggravating the crisis.

The astounding reduction in life expectancy of hydraulic structures such as reservoirs, hydroelectric power plants, drainage and irrigation systems, and urban water supply systems defines the need for a new approach to operation and maintenance practices. Financial alternatives to the planning process that allow Latin America to meet the needs of an operations and maintenance program need to be analyzed, evaluated and implemented.

2. Description of the problem

2.1 Investments in hydraulic infrastructure

In general, there is virtually no operational and maintenance planning throughout the Latin American region. The belief is that a job is almost done when the infrastructure is complete and operations and maintenance (O&M) are treated as a secondary task.

The trend over the last 25 years has been towards active government involvement in the planning and management of water resource systems. It is quite common to find significant political support for infrastructure construction rather than O&M. In addition, the public service companies are not prepared to take care of the proper operation and maintenance of water supply systems. Therefore, in most cases, O&M decisions have followed political initiatives and paid little attention to technical decisions.

For example, for Peru, Table 1 shows the percentage of investments in hydraulic infrastructure in irrigation projects from 1975 to 1986. The highest percentages of investments were made from 1975 to 1981, which coincides with the 1969 military government. -1980 . The lowest investment percentage was 42% in 1985, which is the end of a civilian presidential term.

Table 1: Percentage of investments in hydraulic infrastructure in irrigation projects. Government of Peru (1975-1986)


% of total investment

























Source: National Development Institute, INADE (Peru)
Table 2 shows the amounts invested by project up to 1992. The total cost of the main projects is estimated at US$9.5 billion, in which US$2.6 billion has already been invested (about 27% of the total). Of the nine water resource projects considered, six are located on the north coast. Closest to completion are Chira-Piura and Jequetepeque to the north and Majes to the south.

Table 2: Investments in the main water resource projects of the Peruvian government.



total cost

Conversely 12/92

Momentane Situation

1. Puyango-Tumbes

north coast




2. Chira-Piura

north coast




3. Olmos-Tinajones

north coast




4. Jequetepeque

north coast




5. Chavimochic

north coast




6. Chinacas

north coast




7. Majesties

south coast




8. Great food

south coast





south coast




In total



Sources: INADE (Peru)
2.2 Financial arrangements in the operation and maintenance of water supply facilities

2.2.1 Water Price

The water price represents a way of financing the operation, maintenance and amortization of the infrastructure. Developed countries take this approach into account in the planning phase and implement it in the operational phase of such a project. Therefore, institutional arrangements and cost sharing are in place to ensure successful operation and maintenance through the application of a fair water tariff.

Developing countries fall into the government sector with responsibility for O&M activities, which are currently facing enormous institutional and economic problems in most Latin American countries. In addition, the lack of effective institutional agreement and cost sharing makes it difficult to achieve O&M goals, so water prices generally do not represent actual O&M costs.

Most of the region's water and utility companies have water and energy prices well below real equilibrium prices. This lack of funding causes side effects and results in a highly inefficient service that users sometimes refuse to pay for.

In the case of Peru, Article 12 of the Water Law 17752 of 1969 stipulates that: The water users of each irrigation district pay the water fee calculated for each use on the basis of a volumetric unit. These rates are used to cover operating and maintenance costs, as well as to fund studies and the construction of new hydraulic infrastructure needed for regional development.

In addition, the Water Act stipulates that the water tariff is divided into three components:

A. Association of Water Users
B. Wasserkanone
C. Depreciation Component
The user association component serves to finance the administrative activities of this organisation. The water cannon component is used by the government as payment for using water. The amortization component serves to amortize the investments in the infrastructure.

As can be seen here, water law stipulates that the water tariff must cover the costs of operation and maintenance as well as the amortization of the infrastructure. However, the actual situation is quite different and some of these reasons are listed below:

To. The water tariff has never represented the true value of the operating, maintenance and payback costs of a water resource system.

B. Large water resource projects are expected to be allocated for irrigation purposes. Therefore, the government tutelage that financially supports activities in the agricultural sector and the economic crisis over the past 25 years have hampered the efficiency of O&M activities.

C. The water users' associations have not presented an efficient means to make the payment of the water fee effective. This lack of effectiveness is reflected in the amounts recovered, which were consistently much lower than estimates and delayed over time.

D. The water tariff has always been well below its marginal price. This situation creates low efficiency in the use of water; Water users are willing to use more water than they really need, leading to additional problems such as drainage problems in the lower levels of the basin. Table 3 shows some water tariffs in some Peruvian valleys, and Figure 1 shows the variation in recovered amounts from 1972 to 1989.

Figure 1: Revenue from water tariffs.

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (26)

Sources: INADE (Peru)
Table 3: Water Tariffs in Peru (1991)


Estimated rate $/m³

$/m³ paid

1. Chira-Piura



2. Tinajones



3. Jequetepeque



4. Majesty



Sources: INADE (Peru)
2.2.2 Institutional regulations

Institutional arrangements are essential to ensure the proper functioning of a water resource system. These arrangements can range from establishing an appropriate operating and cost reimbursement framework to cost-sharing agreements.

In developing countries, an important step in the planning and management process is often skipped; This move is the commitment of water users and government to share equal financial responsibility for the proper operation and maintenance of water supply facilities.

The priorities for infrastructure O&M are more political than technical. In developed countries, priorities are set by the community with less interference from the political system. Therefore, problems such as the lack of well-trained personnel and communication equipment under emergency conditions are evident. The lack of adequate data hampers the decision-making process in critical operating conditions, and when the data is available, it is usually not analyzed due to the lack of adequate staff and equipment.

2.2.3 Shared Costs

Cost sharing is the step through which operational, maintenance and amortization costs are financially planned. The institutions involved in water use undertake to pay for the operation of the water system through revenue collection.

Most Latin American countries have not yet fully implemented the cost-sharing system. The political intervention of the government and the lack of a defined responsibility of the water user associations delay the cost recovery process and in several cases postpone the application of proper O&M standards.

3. Proposal for a new approach

This proposal aims to combine criteria of economic efficiency and rationality of water resource and consider it as a public good subject to demand and supply. Therefore, this approach essentially takes into account:

To. Implementation of the polyvalent property of water in hydraulic engineering projects. This makes it possible to broaden the spectrum of accruing benefits and allows these projects to better recover their O&M costs.

B. Real costs shared between different water users

C. Further develop water law according to criteria of economic efficiency and involve the private sector more in the management of the water systems.

D. Special Treatment of Amortization Income. It will serve as an effective means of implementing further phases of the project and may provide the government with some financial flexibility.

My. In order not to shorten the expected service life of the infrastructure, water tariffs must be paid at their actual value.

F. Allocate funds for preventive maintenance as this should eliminate much of the corrective maintenance.

grams. Improvement of communication mechanisms. This will enable water users, government institutions and private entities within the country to better understand the importance of O&M activities and their financial needs. Between countries it will allow the transfer of appropriate technology and experience on O&M issues.

4. Conclusions and recommendations

Because developing countries have invested enormous amounts of money, in some cases making up a significant percentage of their external debt, there is an urgent need to address sources of finance to improve the operation and maintenance of existing water supplies.

The lack of institutional arrangements has meant that there is no obligation between users and the government to share financial responsibility for O&M. This situation has created a discontinuity in the planning and management process and in most cases has resulted in increased operational and maintenance costs.

The water tariff is a mechanism that must be effective in order to generate the revenue charged to cover operating and maintenance costs.

Communication between national institutions and also between countries needs to be improved to keep all kinds of information on O&M issues up to date.

5. References

Directorate-General for Water, Soil and Irrigation (1987) General Water Law and its Regulations. Ministry of Agriculture of Peru. Lima, Peru.

Directorate General of Water and Soil (1992) Basic Situational Study of Water Resources in Peru, Ministry of Agriculture. Lima, Peru.

National Development Institute (1992). Water Tariffs in Special Projects, 1992-1993. Internal Documents. Lima, Peru.

National Development Institute (1993). Investment program for special projects. Period 1993-1997. Internal Documents. Lima, Peru.

Intermediate Technology Development Group (1993) Water Management and Institutional Crisis. Technology Group und Dutch Technical Cooperation Service. Lima, Peru.

International Conference on Water and the Environment (1992). The Dublin Declaration and Report of the Conference on Water and Sustainable Development. Dublin, Ireland.

United Nations Development Program (1992) Our own agenda. Development and Environment Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Environmental issues and constraints from the perspective of borrower countries

Joseph G. Eight-Iturbe1

1Koordinator des Umweltprogramms, School of Engineering, Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, Francisco de Miranda Avenue, Galipán Building, Entrance A, Office 3-D, Chacao, Caracas 1060, Venezuela

When I was invited to participate in this Inter-American Dialogue on Water Management and to present a paper on environmental issues and restrictions from the perspective of borrower countries, my first reaction was to confine myself to these issues, but later our experience in Venezuela was different. We did not receive any funds, not because of environmental regulations, but because of the macroeconomic policies that the World Bank wanted to implement in the country. These were and are the limitations that have not allowed Venezuela's water and sanitation sector to receive funding for its improvement.

I am convinced that if we cannot separate one sector from the others, the funds will not be available for a while, as social and political policies are more difficult to implement and need to be tested on a case-by-case basis how each country reacts other than these policies.


In the 1992 World Development Report prepared by the World Bank, Chapter 5 begins with the following lines: For many people in developing countries, the most important environmental problems are those related to water supply, sanitation and waste disposal. If the entire population had adequate water and sanitation, more than two million deaths from diarrheal diseases could be avoided (1). This means that the environment for us is likely to be slightly different than for developed countries where these problems have been overcome.

For this reason, whenever we seek foreign aid for our development, we always think of environmental considerations in one way or another, because for us it is not just about building something (a road, a dam), but about the well-being of ours Population will come from these projects (decent standard of living, a certain amount and quality of water, etc.). Therefore, we could say that the environment is a critical health issue for developing countries and not just a matter of improving the environment itself (cleaner air, biodiversity conservation, etc.).

To try to solve these problems, our governments have asked for foreign aid, especially from the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank, where there are better credit conditions, since the purpose of these banks was and is to provide funds for development ( The World Bank began actually as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). However, these funds were always subject to certain conditions in order to guarantee the bank that they were used properly. Unfortunately, some are more political than environmental, giving the sector a secondary and conditioned position. At least that was the case in Venezuela.

VENEZUELA: an attempt to obtain funds for the water and environmental sectors

In 1989, when we began seeking funds to reform and improve our water and sanitation systems, which had long lapsed due to poor management practices in the main agency responsible for these services, we naturally turned to the World Bank as the most likely source of funds for the rehabilitation of the sector. However, the loan terms for the sector have been set as part of the Bank's overall objective of helping the government emerge from its current economic and financial crisis(2). Therefore, if the government did not follow the proposed economic recommendations, the water and environmental sectors would not receive the funding they needed. Of course, there were some conditions within the sector, i.e. the elimination of the National Agency (INOS), the creation of regional water supply and sewerage operating companies, tariff increases, etc.

In short, these industry conditions are met almost to the last point (tariffs have even been raised, although not yet to self-sustainability levels). This did not happen in the macroeconomic scenario, where some of the recommended measures caused unrest in our country. In 1989 in particular, we had a serious crisis - gasoline prices were rising - and the riots lasted three days with great loss of life and property. The government started new discussions with the bank on general strategies to implement the agreed policy. It's been like this ever since. To date, the water and environmental sector has not been able to obtain funding for its projects, although we have submitted several proposals for environmental rehabilitation and rehabilitation of water supply systems for approval. The IDB was more receptive and we have some projects going with their help.

Because of all these delays, a move was made towards bilateral financing, where funds could be obtained (at higher rates and on restricted terms) with some sort of World Bank backing. But as a result we now have several projects running funded by the US, Canada, England and Germany. This helps us solve our most pressing problems.

When dealing with the bank, the first thing to mention is that we were always dealing with new people (new sectors, new department heads, new delegations) and that of course meant explanations and presentations of the same projects over and over again. once again. Changes were made to the proposals due to new views from the representative on duty and a lot of time wasted in this way.

We know that in some other countries in the region, such as Peru and Bolivia, loans have been made and projects are ongoing, and it could be of great help to all of us to hear about your experiences in this dialogue conference.

In my opinion, the environmental restrictions on lending by international financial banks are commendable, as environmental protection is a present and future imperative. But we have to keep in mind that development and environment are linked by this new word 'sustainable' and that huge investments are needed as the technology is alien and expensive and our countries are in poor financial conditions to implement it. In fact, the document Our Own Agenda(3) states that developed nations should be part of this investment, as our common future requires. Braking trade barriers and facilitating communications have shrunk the world, and as economies become increasingly bound, the problems lie with humanity rather than with any particular sector or country.

So I think that the bank or any credit institution needs to review their credit terms when it comes to environmental projects. All of us, as a sector concerned with the survival of humanity, should not be subject to specific economic conditions, important as they may be, but our projects should be seen in the context of what will happen if the loan is not granted (we could mention the struggle with cholera more than a year ago, where cases were reported far from the original place of detection).

Again, we propose that management of the water and environmental sectors should be independent of other political or economic considerations. In this way we could improve our quality of life, our health and thus advance our sustainable development faster (only healthy people can work and produce properly)

A final consideration must be given to the Latin American debt problem, which now amounts to almost $459 billion. The service of this debt is enormous and you must find a way to solve it in order to be able to pay and develop at the same time. Borrowing countries need to be aware that this will not help anyone in the long term and that their cooperation in solving this problem is essential.


Instead of recommending, we could suggest that future credits for our sector should be prepared under the following premises:

A) Water and environmental projects should not be constrained by other considerations (economic, political) but by their own feasible limits as they are part of efforts for human well-being and survival.

B) Bank employees must remain at their posts on a project long enough for it to move forward. Perhaps creating a permanent delegate for the sector within the debtor country would pave the way.

C) Although not mentioned in this discussion, opportunities should be open to companies in the borrowing countries to apply for these projects. This would have a multiplier effect within the country as more money would circulate, indirectly benefiting part of the labor force.

In closing, I would like to thank the organizers for this opportunity and commend their efforts to facilitate this and future dialogues.


1. World Bank. World Development Report 1992.

2. Letter to Ministry of World Bank, November 1989.

3. UNDP and IDB. Development and Environment Commission of Latin America and the Caribbean. Our own agenda, 1990.

Regional Environment and Health Investment Plan

Horst Otterstetter1

1Director, Environmental Health, Pan American Health Organization, 525 23rd Street, NW, Washington, DC 20037, USA.
Editor's Note: At the time of publication of these proceedings, the English version of the presentation was not yet available. A report entitled "Regional Environment and Health Investment Plan - Background, Strategies, Pre-Investment Funds" is available on written request from the author.


The economic stagnation that took place in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1980s led to a sharp decline in public and private investment and marked shortages in drinking water supply, sanitation, and the replacement and maintenance of equipment and physical infrastructure. These shortcomings are evidenced by the violent outbreaks of epidemics such as cholera and the high incidence of diarrheal diseases in the region, which are a major cause of the approximately 130,000 deaths in children under the age of 5 each year.

Dealing with this situation requires a strategy that includes short-term and long-term interventions. With this aim and in response to the mandate given by the Ibero-American Summit of Presidents and Heads of State, the PAHO structured the document Regional Investment Plan for Environment and Health. This plan identifies the investments needed in the region to overcome the above deficit and proposes some strategies for its implementation at national and regional levels. It also proposes the terms of reference to establish a Multilateral Fund for the development of pre-investment activities required for the implementation of the regional plan and proposes investing approximately US$216,000 million over a 12-year period. These funds are funded 70% from national sources and 30% from external sources.

The plan must be understood as a strategy, frame of reference and process.

·As a strategy, it aims to help bring about major reforms in the systems and services aimed at ensuring protection and control of the environment and providing direct health services to the population.

·Priority investment areas are proposed as a reference framework; suggests the need to set quality, productivity and efficiency criteria; and shows alternative courses of action that are more effective than before. Countries will use this reference framework according to their individual realities, opportunities and limitations to formulate their own national investment plans and develop specific projects.

·As a process, it will essentially operate at the country level. This is a first step and is intended to drive, encourage and facilitate future action.

An examination of the barriers to private sector participation in water resources and sanitation in Latin America

Barbara Richard and Kenneth Rubin1

1Apogee Research Inc., 4350 East WestHighway Suite #600, Bethesda, Maryland 20854, USA. UU.
Editor's Note: At the time of publication of these proceedings, the English version of the presentation was not yet available. Additional information about this presentation and the subject may be available directly from the authors.


Commissioned by the World Bank's Infrastructure and Urban Development Division, Apogee Research, Inc. is conducting a study of regulatory barriers to private sector participation in water and sanitation services in Latin America, specifically acknowledging the need to remove such barriers small but important step to improve the efficiency of water and sanitation supply.

While regulation in the US, UK and France varies from country to country, it shares some basic principles. The institutional history of many Latin American countries renders some of these principles irrelevant and unimportant to successful privatization efforts; In short, the rules for successful companies are different. This study attempts to identify critical points from the perspective of the private provider as well as a potential or actual concessionaire in order to learn from the success or failure of previous efforts in the region.

Water and sanitation privatization in Latin America has focused on long-term concessions for water supply systems, with the recent privatization of Buenos Aires' water supply system and the Mexico City award being the largest to date. The study takes a close look at these two privatization attempts and compares them to each other and to a failed attempt in Caracas.

(Video) Water Governance in Megacities, actors and climate change - Roundtable during EauMega 2022

Government officials from host countries are also interviewed to compare their perceptions of the elements critical to successful privatization efforts with those articulated by private providers.

Round Table II - Drinking Water and Sanitation Infrastructure in the Context of Sustainable Development (27)


1. UN Water Conference Side event : Invest in Sustainable Development and Peace through Water
(UN Capital Development Fund)
2. 24 Hours of Water: Water and Sustainable Development Goals 6 and 14
(Water Environment Federation)
3. SDG 14 Life Below Water Roundtable
(SDG Talks)
4. What are the Sustainable Development Goals and how they affect our lives?
(Tallinna Ülikool I Tallinn University)
5. José Carrera's perspective on financing water
(OECD Environment)
6. TD9: Climate, Water and Sanitation Solutions for Health and Sustainable Development


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