Case Studies


The country has undergone a revolutionary institutional transformation in the water sector during the 1990s, which has also attracted a flow of private investment (see Table 2). In 1992, substantial reforms were introduced in the constitution to promote private sector participation, and a new Water Law was passed that year. The Federal District, which houses over 8 million people, was divided into four zones, which were allocated in 1993 to four transnational consortiums led by the French Lyonnaise des Eaux and Générale des Eaux, and the British Severn Trent and North West Water International. Later on, certain areas of the conurbated municipalities in the State of Mexico were also offered in concession to private water operators. In Mexico WSS are a key socio-political issue and an object of state paternalism, popular mobilization, and recurrent conflicts. Unsurprisingly, here private participation has been limited to the contracting out of some services such as the distribution and metering of water while the state has retained control over the system. Like in Argentina and Bolivia, Mexico has also gone through negative experiences with private involvement in WSS: in the state capital of Aguascalientes, the contract for the privatized water service successfully run by the same company that was involved in Tucumán was not respected when new elected authorities took office in 1996, though the governor responsible for the move belonged to the pro-privatization policies PAN party (recently elected for the first time to govern the country).

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