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BECC General Manager presents water and wastewater achievements of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program at the 6th World Water Forum

Posted on April 02, 2012

BECC General Manager presents water and wastewater achievements of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program at the 6th World Water Forum

The GM presented progress and impacts of the joint binational cooperation program in the areas of water and wastewater at the Mexico Pavilion in Marseille, France. Participants in the panel included Mario López Pérez, of CONAGUA, Sasha Koo-Oshima of the U.S. EPA, and IBWC/CILA Commissioners Ed Drusina and Roberto Salmon.

BECC General Manager Maria Elena Giner at the presentationOn March 15, the BECC General Manager, Maria Elena Giner participated in the Sixth World Water Forum held in Marseille, France. Giner presented the progress and impacts achieved through 16 years of cooperation between the United States and Mexico, in a joint effort to improve environmental conditions with respect to water and wastewater in the border region between the two countries. The presentation was held in the Mexico Pavilion.

ommissioners Ed Drusina (IBWC) y Roberto Salón (CILA)Participants in the panel also included Mario Lopez Perez, Manager of Engineering and Technical Standards of Mexico's National Water Commission (CONAGUA); Sasha Koo-Oshima of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Commissioner Edward Drusina of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and his Mexican counterpart, Commissioner Roberto Salmon. "These institutions, along with the BECC and NADB, have promoted one of the most successful regional water and wastewater programs,” Giner said.

rance Minister, Francois Fillon at the opening ceremonyDuring the opening ceremony of the Forum on March 12, France's Prime Minister Francois Fillon stated that on the issue of water "we have been moving too slowly, we now need to accelerate." This was pointed out in a global context where 2.5 billion people have no access to safe drinking water and millions die from associated health risks. He also talked about the effects of climate change, which require water management aimed at implementing adaptation measures in the most vulnerable countries.

In his remarks, IBWC U.S. Commissioner Edward Drusina said his organization "functions as the technical support of the BECC/NADB Board of Directors, and I'm happy with the results they have had along the U.S.-Mexico border." IBWC Mexican Commissioner Roberto Salmon noted that IBWC supports the Border Program pursuant to the provisions of Minute 306 issued in the year 2000, and congratulated the BECC and NADB for their results.

It was established at the forum that cooperation is the only way to find global solutions for a better future, as evident between the two countries in the areas of water and wastewater. “The Sixth Water Forum was an opportunity to showcase the work of the two institutions, but also an opportunity to hear from others on issues such as the water and energy nexus, food security and its relationship to water, water resource management and climate change- as well as many others,” stated Giner.

She described the impact the two institutions have had in the development and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure along the U.S.-Mexico border -as well as the potential for future opportunities. In this regard, she highlighted the work developed by the BECC and the NADB to support the federal governments of both countries through CONAGUA and EPA to contribute to solve the common concerns of the environmental pollution of water sources, climate change, and water supply, to achieve a better quality of life for border residents.

On behalf of CONAGUA, Mario Lopez Perez noted that "the success of the U.S.-Mexico Border Program is an example of collaboration between the two countries that can be replicated in the rest of the country, as well as other nations." EPA's Sasha Koo-Oshima added that "the commitment of the U.S. government to the program is evident by the success achieved with the large number of new connections to water and wastewater systems.”

Also worth noting is that this program allows border communities to obtain grant funding channeled through the BECC and NADB, for design, development, and implementation of projects to reclaim, treat, distribute, and collect water, resulting in substantial improvements to water, wastewater collection, and wastewater treatment coverage rates. Giner emphasized the role of the EPA's Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) administered by the NADB, which projects located in Mexico, receives funds matched with grants from CONAGUA and the state governments.

Overall, Giner underscored that in 16 years, the BECC has certified 113 water and wastewater projects, while NADB has provided US$201.5 million in loans and US$568.7 million in BEIF grants for 94 of those projects, which have resulted in the construction, rehabilitation or expansion of 22 water treatment plants, 57 wastewater treatment plants, 34 water distribution systems, 76 wastewater collection systems, and more than 300,000 water or sewer connections to provide first-time service to border residents.




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