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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

This is our last full day in Oaxaca.  Tomorrow we take a bus to Mexico City and Wednesday we leave Mexico City:  Stan back to Seattle; Rick, Jude and cousin Peter to a week’s vacation in La Manzanillo.

At 1 o’clock we met with Lic. Rosa Elena Manzano Mendez, a representative of the State Institute of Ecology (IEE). She had attended the Oaxaca Water Forum on Friday and, therefore, was familiar with who we were and what we were doing there. Prior to the Forum, we had asked Juan Jose if we could meet with any of the organizations that we want to collaborate our efforts with and he was able to arrange this meeting on short notice. The meeting took place at the INSO office.

Mendez explained that the State Institute of Ecology had no jurisdiction over the waste water (sewage) situation in SDBB. Since the waste water flows into a river, it is the responsibility of CONAGUA, the National Water Commission. Her department, however, does have responsibility with the illegal dump and is vigorously pursuing a resolution to that problem They have set up a meeting with both Etla and SDBB for February 25th to discuss the matter. Her concern is that they have no authority to impose a fine on Etla (ultimate responsibility), if they do not follow their advice and recommendations. If Etla does not, then they will fine Etla, but if Etla does not pay the fine, they cannot do anything about it.

Water for Humans explained to her that, if a constructed wetland is proposed for the site, then in all likelihood, the area where the dump is now located will be needed for the wetland. She said that, in general, they are supportive of our project and will work with us to implement whatever is proposed. She did say, however, that the soil would have to be tested to make sure that it is useable with whatever is proposed.

To bring CONAQUA into the picture, she suggested that INSO write a letter (for documentation), to the director of IEE, explaining the situation and requesting that CONAQUA get involved to ultimately resolve this issue. In that way, IEE and CONAQUA can work together on this. INSO’s letter to IEE will be instigated by a letter from Water for Humans to INSO.

Later in the afternoon, we met with Juan Jose and Nelly. This was our last meeting to talk about upcoming strategy to move our project forward and the role that Nelly will fill. A formal contract is due from Water for Humans to officially bring Nelly on board as an associate.

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