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North American Development Bank provides training program for Mexican water utilities

Posted on October 05, 2017

North American Development Bank provides training program for Mexican water utilities

The North American Development Bank (NADB) established a training program in 1999 for the purpose of reinforcing the managerial, financial and leadership capabilities necessary to ensure the successful operation of water utilities in the modern U.S.-Mexico border economy.

Initially, the program consisted of four basic modules lasting two and a half days, each for a total of 80 hours. Training was provided in San Antonio, Texas, through the Utility Management Institute (UMI) created by NADB for this purpose. Due to the program's success and at the express request of utilities, it was subsequently taken directly to communities that needed to provide training to a larger number of personnel in their local utility.

The basic program has provided training to more than 2,000 utility professionals in 200 communities located along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. This effort has helped raise the operational level of these utilities with better trained personnel in the following areas:

- Planning, Designing and Implementing a Successful Utility
- Financial Administration
- Financial Planning
- Leadership in the Utility

NADB also offers intensive seminars on complimentary topics pertaining to the long-term development and sustainable management of water utilities, such as planning and managing projects, crisis management and implementing sustainable rates.

In 2015, NADB signed an agreement with the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) to turn the original UMI program into a diploma-level course entitled the Basics of Water Utility Management. The new course was developed in collaboration with experts from ITESM Latin American and Caribbean water center, Centro del Agua para América Latina y el Caribe (CDA), as well as other experts on water issues in Mexico. To achieve the required 100 hours for a diploma, a fifth module on public water policy was developed and incorporated into the program.

The new course was launched at the ITESM campus in Monterrey in 2016. After 100 hours of training and the presentation of a final comprehensive project, the first 13 graduates representing water utilities in Ciudad Victoria and Reynosa, Tamaulipas; Piedras Negras, Coahuila and Monterrey, Nuevo León, received ITESM diplomas and accreditation in February 2017. 

For the final project, participants have to provide a plan for managing their water utility so that it is sustainable, operates efficiently and generates value for the community. 

"NADB is to be commended for its decision to offer these diploma-level courses, in coordination with Tecnológico de Monterrey, reinforcing the skills and capacities of utility management and their administrative and operational personnel," said Arturo Garza Jimenez, General Manager of the water utility in Piedras Negras, Coahuila. 

At the end of April 2017, the course was initiated at the ITESM´s North Sonora campus in Hermosillo. Calixto Mateos Hanel, Acting Deputy Managing Director of NADB and Sergio Avila Ceceña, Executive Director of the Sonora state water agency, Comisión Estatal del Agua de Sonora (CEA), inaugurated the course, which convened about 30 senior utility managers from 16 communities in the state of Sonora. 

"NADB has promoted this type of training since its inception, and two years ago we took a major step by securing continuing education credit for this program in Mexico," Mateos Hanel said.

The second class of utility personnel is expected to graduate by late October, after having completed all five modules and presenting their final projects. 

Business Management Seminar
Additionally, in 2016, in coordination with CEA, NADB hosted a seminar on Business Management of Water Services in Hermosillo, Sonora.

The purpose of the seminar was to provide the utility directors and their staff with basic guidelines for improving the business management of water and wastewater services by building their administrative, financial and operational capacities, as well as reviewing success stories and best practices of other utilities in the region so that they can replicate them in their respective organizations. The program was presented by seven experts on business management and included such topics as rate structuring, collections, micro-metering and billing, and the legal framework for residential water use in the state of Sonora.

CEA Executive Director Sergio Ávila closed the seminar, noting the importance of reviewing current business management methodologies in order to promote a more efficient use of water resources in local utilities. 

The seminar consisted of 24 hours of training and was attended by approximately 40 representatives from utilities in 19 communities in Sonora, including Hermosillo, Guaymas, San Carlos, Caborca, Agua Prieta, Cajeme, Cananea, Nogales, and San Luis Río Colorado, among others.




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