“The market is not an invention of capitalism. It has been around for centuries. It is an invention of civilization.”
The lack of water is generating a critical situation in Nuevo León and particularly in Monterrey. Since February, a state of emergency was decreed due to extreme drought and rationing measures were established, while the population was asked to reduce their consumption. Fines were decreed for waste and it was announced that water would only be distributed through the network from 4 to 10 in the morning. In recent days we have seen fights to get water from trucks and street blockades, as if damaging third parties could make the liquid flow.
Politicians will never stop being politicians and that is why they blame their favorite enemies for the situation. In May, when presenting his Master Plan to Guarantee Water in Nuevo León until 2050, Governor Samuel García declared that he was going to solve “this irresponsibility that the Bronco left us”, former Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón. President López Obrador argued on June 22 that the lack of water “is also largely caused by the neoliberal, or neo-Porfirian model, of wanting to dilute, to put aside the State. How are you going to give permission to put breweries in the north!”. In Nuevo León they compromised “water without strategic limits of any kind, because what matters is making money, industries, industries, industries, housing units, housing units, and the more luxurious and with good swimming pools the better.”
I don’t doubt that the Bronco hasn’t taken adequate action on a problem that has been coming for years, but neither have its predecessors. It is positive that Governor García has appointed an expert, Juan Ignacio Barragán Villarreal, as director of the Monterrey Water and Drainage System, instead of a politician with 99 percent loyalty. The measures announced in May by Samuel seem reasonable, but the current crisis is taking worrying proportions.
The president continues to fight the cancellation of the Mexicali brewery, which had all the permits, including those for water. The plant would have used 5.8 cubic meters a year, 0.2 percent of the Mexicali municipality’s total, but was making investments to achieve a neutral operating water footprint. The cancellation prevented investment in infrastructure and prevented the creation of 32,000 jobs.
AMLO forgets that in Mexico water is already “property of the nation” and that the government manages it with political criteria. This is really the reason for the problems in Monterey and elsewhere. A price-regulated market would rise and fall according to supply and demand, and would be fairer and more efficient.
At this time, however, the government allocates large quantities of water to inefficient users, mainly farmers of products with large consumption, at a cost below the real one. The problem is not the industries. In Nuevo León, as in almost the entire country, 70 percent of the use is agricultural, with subsidized prices and great waste; 25 percent goes to public supply and only 4 percent to industries (pronaturanoroeste.org).
It would be better to create a true water market, with realistic prices that generate resources to invest in infrastructure. Subsidies should be given only to family consumers who cannot cover their essential needs. The problem is that water lends itself to populism. That is why politicians tell us that it is a human right and that you cannot put a price on it. By managing it like this, however, they leave us all without water.
A new recording once shows how Attorney General Alejandro Gertz Manero negotiates with defendants or their families. In this case Emilio Lozoya, father. He is very worrying.