El Espectador / A mirage of progress – El Sol de México

In the green paradise of Calakmul, Campeche, an ambitious project was emerging as the promised relief to the region’s chronic drought: the rehabilitation of the López Mateos Aqueduct. This promise, which arose from the indigenous consultation linked to the Mayan Train project, was anticipated not only as a technical triumph, but as a long-awaited right for more than 70 thousand inhabitants. The aqueduct, extended along 99 kilometers of jungle and savannah, was completed with the hope of a before and after in the water history of Calakmul. Sedena laid the last pipe, sealed the last well and finished the work in January 2024. Another mission accomplished. However, the essential water still does not flow through the taps of Xpujil.

Almost three months after the celebration of its completion, the promised water has evaporated in an inefficient bureaucracy and a secondary infrastructure that lies in ruins. According to sources involved in this problem, the Municipal Drinking Water System (SMAPAC), which depends directly on the municipal government, has not received the necessary funds from the National Water Commission (Conagua) or the Drinking Water Commission. and State Sewerage (CAPAE) for the repair and maintenance of the secondary network, an essential part for the correct distribution of water and the use of the Aqueduct.

Likewise, the population accuses the inaction of the municipal president due to his little interest in hiring trained personnel and directing the necessary resources to properly operate and maintain the local distribution system, a situation that last week resulted in road closures and protests. of the population.

On the other hand, after an inspection carried out on the TD1500 and PD-X storage tanks, those interested in the case discovered that, although the aqueduct is operational and distributes water to two dispersion plants in Xpujil, the lack of approval to finance The necessary secondary works within the Pro Agua program contribute to the fact that the objective of the mega-project is not met.

To this crisis, we must add that to try to mitigate the distribution problem, the local government has resorted to tanker trucks, an emergency solution that has proven to be both insufficient and of dubious quality. This temporary measure, far from being an effective patch, reveals the absence of a robust and sustainable strategy for long-term water supply in the region.

Meanwhile, negligence and shortsightedness are reflected not only in dry pipes, but also in the black market that flourishes under the shadows of shortages. Residents have reported a clandestine market for the sale of water through illegal pipes, which take advantage of the liquid from both the aqueduct and the jagüeyes present in the area, which collect rainwater and act as communicating systems, to monopolize this resource.

The Adolfo López Mateos-Xpujil aqueduct project, although noble in its conception, faces the risk of becoming another monument to inefficiency without management that integrates each phase of the project. Added to this is the instability in the electricity supply, the responsibility of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), which paralyzes the cell phone service and affects the proper conduction of water along the aqueduct. It should be noted that this problem also impacts tourism and transportation developments of the Mayan Train that depend on the same energy infrastructure.

Calakmul is at a critical moment, in which the promise of development and progress collides with the reality of poor management and inadequate infrastructure.

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