l president Andrés Manuel López Obrador yesterday signed a decree establishing the immediate action plan to address the emergency due to the shortage of drinking water in the state of Nuevo León. Considering – based on several articles of the National Water Law – the provision of the liquid as a matter of utility and public interest and national security, the provision published in the afternoon in the Official Journal of the Federation instructs to provisionally modify or reduce the volumes granted for purposes other than the above, that is, industry and agriculture. In addition to establishing the mechanisms for water to reach the population, the decree marks the deployment of concerted actions between federal and state authorities for a support plan through tank trucks, construction of hydraulic infrastructure and drilling of wells, among others.
The Conference has reported in a timely manner about the development of the water crisis unleashed in the northern entity (as well as in other parts of the country) in recent months; of the inequities in the way in which the liquid is distributed, privileging large corporations and well-off sectors, and leaving popular neighborhoods destitute; in addition to the social and political conflicts generated by the combination of acute water scarcity and unequal distribution of what is available. In this space, our readers have been offered reflections on the situation, but also on its meaning in a global context of climate change and growing tensions over the control of natural resources.
In such a perspective, what was arranged yesterday by the federal government marks a milestone in the world debate for the definition of water as a human right or as a commodity that can be privatized and commercialized like any other. By subordinating the concessions granted to the private sector to the prior coverage of human needs, not only is it sought to solve a specific problem, but a precedent is set and a declaration of principles is made in the struggles to come for the defense of this resource. vital.
It is likely that individuals and companies affected by the decree will launch a legal battle to annul it and continue the irrational and indiscriminate exploitation of the liquid for profit; a purpose in which they could count on the complicity of judges determined to reverse any measure of the federal government regardless of the cost to the nation and citizens. These actors should be reminded that, far from assuming an occurrence of the president and his work team, the presidential instruction obeys our Constitution to the letter, which states in its fourth article that
Every person has the right to access, provision and sanitation of water for personal and domestic consumption in a sufficient, healthy, acceptable and affordable way; The State will guarantee this right and the law will define the bases, supports and modalities for access and equitable and sustainable use of water resources..
Without denying that the temporary cut in the delivery of water to industrialists and farmers can have adverse repercussions for economic activity, it is clear that these sectors must adopt sustainable processes and techniques that allow them to carry out their tasks without destroying the environment or monopolizing the liquid required by all the inhabitants of the nation.