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Binational Border Sanitation and Water Quality Summit held in San Antonio, Texas

Posted on March 31, 2011

Binational Border Sanitation and Water Quality Summit held in San Antonio, Texas

Hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission. BECC and NADB officials were in attendance. The Summit featured initiatives to improve water quality and sanitation along the border region.

BECC’s General Manager highlighted the achievements obtained in sanitation and water conservation in the borderOn March 17th, Maria Elena Giner, General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) and Geronimo Gutierrez, Managing Director of the North American Development Bank (NADB) participated in the Binational Border Sanitation and Water Quality Summit held in San Antonio, Texas and hosted by the U.S. and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).

In their respective presentations, the BECC and NADB officials addressed the issues of the current status of sanitation, water quality, and funding for these sectors along the border region.

More specifically, they reported that the BECC has certified 132 water, wastewater, and water conservation projects, while the NADB has provided more than US $846.6 million in loans and grant funding for 115 of these projects.

BECC’s General Manager mentioned that these projects are helping prevent the discharge of more than 13 cubic meters per second of untreated sewage to rivers and streams, including the Rio Grande, and about 457.11 million of cubic meters of water are conserved each year thanks to technology upgrades implemented in the different irrigation districts located on both sides of the border.

Geronimo Gutierrez said that, although great strides have been made to contribute to increase wastewater collection and treatment coverage throughout the border region, particularly in Mexico, and wastewater infrastructure in U.S. communities has been replaced, improved, and expanded, the needs are still many and grant resources are ever more scarce.

Retos de hoy, oportunidades de mañana el tema de la Cumbre Binacional.As an example, he added that 200 applications were filed for water and wastewater projects with an estimated cost of US $1.3 billion, requiring grants from the Border Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF), which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is managed by the Bank. According to a press release issued by the IBWC’s U.S. Section, this Binational Summit held between March 16 and 18 convened more than 230 experts from both countries. The theme of the event was “Today’s challenges, tomorrow’s opportunities.” The Summit included separate sessions in the areas of sanitation, technology, water quality, and financing. Participants identified activities and funding to improve wastewater collection and treatment, and considered a framework for binational efforts to enhance sanitation and water quality in border communities.

At the end of the Binational Summit, moderators for each of the areas presented the following as the key recommendations:

  • Promote reuse of treated effluent and raise public awareness on this topic
  • Promote the effective use of available funding through planning • Improve the relationship between the community and water and wastewater utilities
  • Consider using new technologies, especially those that reduce energy costs, as well as other green technologies
  • Consider cogeneration at wastewater treatment plants and reduce energy costs
  • Consider wetlands as an effective small-scale treatment option
  • Develop strategies to address point source and nonpoint source water pollution
  • Achieve consistency in water quality standards among states and between the United States and Mexico, taking into consideration the collection methods, parameters, and water quality goals
  • Collect and exchange water quality data in a systematic manner
  • Provide adequate training to wastewater treatment facility operators
  • Identify multiple funding sources to develop projects
  • Partner with the private sector to secure system operation and maintenance funding
  • Develop the utilities’ institutional capacity

“I was pleased with the quality of participants and their presentations at the Summit. We identified some of the challenges we face in improving water quality and sanitation along the border and heard some excellent suggestions about ways to work more effectively in the future,” said U.S. Commissioner of the IBWC Edward Drusina.

Mexican Commissioner Roberto Salmon indicated that he was particularly surprised by the great interest that the Binational Summit generated in border communities, as well as among the agencies responsible for addressing these issues on both sides of the border. He added that he is sure that the results of the Summit will be reflected with mechanisms for cooperation that will be presented to both governments to improve border sanitation and water quality.

Retos de hoy, oportunidades de mañana el tema de la Cumbre Binacional.




Other BECC News

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May 07, 2018 - Hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission. BECC and NADB officials were in attendance. The Summit featured initiatives to improve water quality and sanitation along the border region.

Nuevo Casas Grandes receives new landfill equipment

March 16, 2018 - Hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission. BECC and NADB officials were in attendance. The Summit featured initiatives to improve water quality and sanitation along the border region.

Biogas cogeneration plant installed in Juarez´s South Wastewater Treatment Plant is a model of energy self-supply for Mexican utilities

December 14, 2017 - Hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission. BECC and NADB officials were in attendance. The Summit featured initiatives to improve water quality and sanitation along the border region.

Financing approved for Nogales Water and Wastewater System Expansion and Improvement Project

December 14, 2017 - Hosted by the International Boundary and Water Commission. BECC and NADB officials were in attendance. The Summit featured initiatives to improve water quality and sanitation along the border region.