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Bluefield Research

Mexico's Private Water Landscape: Municipal Drivers and Public-Private Partnerships

Mexico's Private Water Landscape: Municipal Drivers and Public-Private Partnerships

Climate change, competition for scarce water supplies, and service providers’ inability to recover costs are putting pressure on Mexico’s increasingly underfunded water sector. By 2030, demand for water in Mexico is expected to reach 91 billion cubic meters (24 trillion gallons), while available supplies are predicted to meet just 75% of demand.

Public investment in water infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with a growing population and is down 67% since peaking in 2012. While the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) received approval for its highest budget ever for 2023—including an ambitious US$3.5 billion for water infrastructure—these investments are likely insufficient to modernize the sector.

Lack of public trust in Mexico’s drinking water suppliers has led to some of the highest levels of bottled water consumption in the world—even after significant improvements in service coverage. Water treatment levels in Mexico’s central and southern states continue to lag while providers across the board are struggling to recover costs. Wastewater treatment levels are far lower, with just over half of the total wastewater generated being treated.

Following the moderate success of former President Nieto’s 2014 infrastructure plan, elected officials have shown a greater willingness to engage the private sector. Amid declining government investment in water infrastructure, both global and local companies are gradually leveraging the opportunity to invest in critical projects.

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