|Secretary of Finance Cajiga|
them printed before the driver came to get us at about 9am. Nelly has been extremely helpful in making sure all the translated documents are correct and she has helped us write several new documents in preparation of these meetings. On Wednesday we were in meetings with the Minister and his staff for most of the day! The meetings are taking place in a new large office campus about 40 minutes outside the city. This complex was built to house all the government offices. On the upside for the public it is a one stop get everything done in one place type layout. On the down side it is way out of town. Luckily for us we have a driver with a minivan (7 passengers) that takes us everywhere we need to go.
|R-L: Juan Jose, Dr. Jhabvala, Josefina, Carlos|
clean 90% of wastewater. This gave the ‘good’ Dr. an opportunity to further explain how properly designed and implemented constructed wetlands all over the world, including Mexico, clean well over 90% of waste and how activated sludge plants clean water up to 90% but leave massive amounts of contaminated sludge that then needs to be dealt with and normally just piles up. This turned out to be a good education for the dissenter as well as everyone else in the room.
The minister fully understood that his internal team does not have the wherewithal to fully analyze the state of the current plants fairly. Thus, WFH with the help of Dr J (and hopefully Tressie Word) will oversee the work of the minister’s staff to provide an objective analysis of the situation. Nelly provided us with highlights of the conversation. She took great notes (in Spanish) which we were able to understand. The verbal conversation goes by way too fast. This situation reminds Rick of when he was first working in Germany and all the meetings there were in German.
When the discussion turned to the possibility of establishing a certified testing lab in the state (to analyze the quality of waste water), the initial comments were in favor of turning that over to CONAGUA (the federal water commission) and CEA (the state water commission). However, Erik spoke about the work that he has done at the university and the possibility of setting up an independent certified laboratory. We would like to be able to have an independent (or part of UABJO) lab that is not located on campus since UABJO seems to be closed more than open due to protests. Erik stated the lab could be located off campus and be a joint effort with UABJO. In addition, we don’t like the idea that it would be run by CONAUGA & CEA because this is like the fox guarding the hen house.
|Meeting with the Finance Minister|
will increase the availability of irrigation water. In addition, he spoke about how to implement changes in irrigation practices to increase water productivity. We finally left the office complex about 3:30 pm and were driven back to the city to have a late lunch.
|Etla Treatment Plant, R-L: Nelly, Erik, 3 Etla officials|
for a good 45 minutes and agreed to continue the discussion next Tuesday at 6PM.
|Tlacolula Treatment Plant|
around the plant. On the downside it a very large community and we would not be able to implement many of our other ideas at this scale right out of the box.
|Biggest Tree in the World|
|Working on the proposal|
We decided on a four part plan that will take six months to complete. It covers the following:
1. A vision-/strategy for water and sanitation for the Central Valley
2. A review team that will evaluate the existing treatment plants and divide them into three categories.
b. abandoned/scrap/not worth fixing
c. More extensive research required.
This team will work with CEA (the state water commission) in an oversight and advisor function.
3. Produce a process document that municipalities will follow to justify their request for water and sanitation improvements.
This report will outline a basic process for doing economic analyses that includes the engineering, social and environmental effects. The minister is an economist and wants to have a way to objectively evaluate potential projects so he can prioritize them correctly.
4. Pilot project development.
This will cover the planning and pre-implementation costs of pilot projects that reinforce our strategy and show that some of the innovative recommendations are both valid and cost effective.
Some of the pilot projects we are planning for both urban and rural locations are:
- “Family ecosystems”
- Storm water management
- Industrial and household water use reduction program (education and equipment)
- Dry latrines and ultra-low volume flush toilets
- Greywater treatment
- Rainwater Harvesting.
Friday was our last day in the fancy hotel and the day of the 31st INSO Water Forum (Foro Oaxaqueno del Agua-quarterly meetings sponsored by INSO to discuss water and sanitation issues in Oaxaca). We had a very brief breakfast with the minister. He had to leave early for a meeting with the governor. However, we did have the opportunity to present our proposal to him and it was well received. Mr. Cajiga said his initial impression is that the structure and costs are in line with his budget and expectations. He then said he would like to make the INSO &WFH group his “think tank” for advice on water and sanitation. With that said he directed his assistant to arrange a meeting for next week to finalize the proposal.
|Water Forum Sign|
|Water Forum Head Table with Secretary Cajiga|
|Mrs. Ines Avelina Barroso|
for the Common Good’. He introduced the idea and highlighted that it would include technical, environmental and social aspects to all future plans for water and sanitation in the Central Valley. Towards the end of the forum Mrs. Ines Avelina Barroso made a presentation about the rainwater harvesting program in Bravo Ahuja (which WFH is helping to fund). We met her after the forum and arranged to visit the site on Wednesday at 1700. Maria, the former head of Santo Domingo Barrio Bajo Etla also attended the meeting. We spent several minutes after the meeting with her to get her views of the situation with the wastewater treatment plant in Etla. We are looking forward to next Tuesday’s meeting there. The forum ended about 12:45 and we went back to INSO to wrap up our work for the week.
|L-R: Stan, Maria, Santa Domingo official, Rick|
We are very much looking forward to a “weekend off.”
Rick and Stan