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Mexican company Aguas de Saltillo, subsidiary of Spanish Aguas de Barcelona (owned by French Suez), will be tried by the Permanent Peoples´ Tribunal in Madrid, Spain, due to their overexploitation of water tables, decreasing quality of drinking water and keeping the distribution networks in poor conditions. The company is also accused of violating the Mexican Constitution and the Access to Information Law.
The Permanent Peoples´ Tribunal, a non binding space carried out by social movements and organizations from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, will session on May 14-15 in Madrid. The Association of Water Consumers from Saltillo will submit a case against the water company present in Saltillo, Coahuila state.
The organizations state that Aguas de Saltillo keeps overexploiting the same wells, resulting in less water. “This will cause serious water supply problems” they warned.
Also, the Association of Water Consumers from Saltillo said that the foreign company has changed less than five per cent of the pipes in their eight years of operation, while the water leaked exceeds 40 per cent. The company´s executives have shown no interest in repairing the damaged networks.
According to the document submitted by the organizations, the most affected by the poor service provided by Aguas de Saltillo are domestic consumers. “The company has been operating with complete impunity, and is protected by its main shareholder, Saltillo´s Municipality”.
Aguas de Saltillo is accused of violating the Mexican Constitution, several federal and state laws and regulations related to water, health, information access and consumer rights. With reference to transparency, the company is accused of hiding information, and providing, in some cases, false, incomplete or incoherent information.
The case of Aguas de Saltillo is just another example of the disastrous experience of water privatization in Latin America in the hands of European companies. In 2001, the government of Saltillo authorized to sell 49 per cent of the water system of the municipality to transnational company Aguas de Barcelona.
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