Half-baked plan

Published: Sunday 30 June 2002

Mexico's proposed plan to pay off its long-standing water debt to the us within five years is ambitious but not substantial. The plan put forward by the national water commission calls for increasing Mexico's annual water payment to the us from 432 million cubic metres to 682 million cubic metres a year for the next five years. However, the report is silent on how it would draw the increased amount of water. Water levels in Mexican rivers where the payments are collected have declined by 71 per cent over the last nine years, the document said. There is said to be rampant illegal exploitation of water reserves. Several conservation measures suggested by the commission include improvements in irrigation technology and city-specific programmes. But there is no mention in the report on how to make these suggestions workable.

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