Published On: Tue, Aug 24th, 2021

Mexico evaluates different water solutions for Guanajuato

Mexico is mulling clean water projects for Guanajuato state after a federal proposal related to the 6bn-peso (US$296mn) El Zapotillo dam left the state without solutions. 

Water authority Conagua‘s director Germán Martínez Santoyo met with Guanajuato’s governor Diego Sinhue Rodríguez on Monday to discuss options. 

They agreed on assigning one team focused on technical options, or projects, to provide water, especially for Guanajuato’s León city, and one to find legal and technical solutions for the El Zapotillo dam, which was originally planned to provide water to León. 

Possible projects have not been announced yet.

The meeting took place one day after Martínez presented a plan to begin El Zapotillo operations to the Temacapulín, Palmarejo and Acasico communities in Jalisco, which have halted works for the megaproject for over a decade.

The residents have until September 14 to accept the plan, which includes starting operations of a smaller version of the dam, with an 80m wall. 

If approved, gates would be installed in the diversion works of the dam, in addition to reinforcing the pipelines, Conagua said in a statement Sunday, adding that the gates would have automatic and manual functions to avoid accidents.  

“During the first rainy season, the gates would be kept closed to carry out their first filling, and later a rigorous management of the storage levels would be established through the diversion works,” Conagua said.

Yet, the new plan for the reservoir – which was well received by locals – leaves Guanajuato without possibilities of benefiting from the infrastructure on the Verde river, even though a Jalisco-Guanajuato water sharing agreement was signed in 2019


Dam construction started in 2011 to provide water to nearby municipalities via a 140m aqueduct. 

But the three communities in Jalisco, which would have been flooded under the original design involving 150m walls, have opposed the project. 

Legal measures limited the walls to 80m and prevented operations start-up. 

Given the water crisis in the area, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador talked to the opponents and announced a compromise on August 6 involving smaller walls. 

While under this version the communities will not be flooded, capacity won’t suffice to supply Guanajuato’s León city. 

The 2019 water sharing agreement reduced Guanajuato’s deliveries from 68% to 28% and mentioned federal financing for infrastructure to supply the states with 11.6m3/s. 

This would require building the 9bn-peso El Purgatorio dam and aqueduct in addition to the El Zapotillo dam and aqueduct. But El Purgatorio has been stalled since 2013.

Source: BN Americas



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