Tec de Monterrey held its third International Water Forum 2022, where academics and scientists participated in actions to ensure regional, national and international water care.
During this forum, panels were held with experts who revealed some causes, answers, and lessons about the use of water, as well as strategies for managing it in cities.
“It is not enough to define the vision, we need execution and spaces like this that give us the opportunity to reflect on those actions that we must take,” said David Garza, rector and executive president of the Tec.
Juan Pablo Murra, Tec de Monterrey rector for professional and postgraduate studies, said that long-term solutions must be generated, thinking of future generations.
At CONECTA we list some of the actions shared by experts to avoid reaching Day Zero, the name given to the moment when water would be insufficient in a city.
1.Inform people about their consumption
The panelists mentioned the need for people to know how much water they consume in order to raise awareness about its use and the need for responsible use.
"That people know what their pattern of use is and that they know their consumption," said Carmen Julia Navarro, head of the Hydrometric Sectoring department in Chihuahua.
2. Manage water pressure in cities
Carmen Julia Navarro and Dante Ragazzi, Superintendent of Integrated Planning in Sao Paulo, Brazil, assured that regulating night-time water consumption in cities can help reduce waste.
"Managing the pressures and reducing the water at night helps to have a controlled supply," said Navarro.
3. Investigate the water risks of each city
Michael John Webster, executive director of Water and Sanitation in Cape Town, in South Africa, pointed out that it is necessary to investigate and understand the risks of each city to know their vulnerability to lack of water.
"We must investigate aspects of cities and how they affect consumption and see how vulnerable they are to the risks of climate change," he said.
Michael Webster mentioned that in Cape Town, one of the cities that has experienced an approach to Day Zero in which water would be insufficient for citizens, reducing demand was vital to survival.
“We survived by reducing demand, in a joint effort between the municipality and the people. (We did) actions from repairing leaks, giving economic incentives and even campaigns on day zero," he said.
5. Have different sources of water
Planning, mapping and having various water sources available is another of the tips mentioned by panelists, such as Heriberto Ramírez, director of Water Sanitation and Drainage in Monterrey.
Shallow wells, cloud bombardment, construction of collection systems such as dams and even the reuse of water are some of the methods mentioned by forum participants.
For his part, Webster proposed desalination of seawater as a possible solution, as long as it seeks to make this process more efficient and accessible to cities.
“Having those reservations was what prevented us from reaching Day Zero in November 2014 (in Sao Paulo). If we had not had these sources, we would have entered into a deficit, requiring more water than we had," Ragazzi added.
6. Use the crisis to build resilience
Some of the panelists agreed to take advantage of the crisis that has been generated in some of the cities that have experienced a lack of water to raise awareness and take advantage of making their storage, collection and distribution processes more efficient.
“We use the shock to build resilience, to do new programs on water and new studies.
“Leverage to improve services, create financial sustainability in water services and become a citizen-based organization,” Webster said
7. Create incentive programs to reduce consumption
Greg Walch, general counsel of the Las Vegas Valley Water District, Nevada, highlighted the importance of working together with various stakeholders that use water, as in the case of Nevada with approximately 80%.
"One way is with incentive programs for actors that reduce consumption, with new tariffs and bonuses," advised Dante Ragazzi for his part.
8. Educate the new generations
Ragazzi adds that education is essential so that the new generations not only become aware of the water crisis, but also contribute ideas for the future.
“In the educational program in Brazil, we noticed that the children who participated decreased their consumption. On average, 80% of the population joined these efforts for the rational use of water,” he said
9. Create new models of water use
Rosario Sánchez, senior researcher at the Texas Water Resources Institute at Texas A&M University, highlighted the need for a change in the model of water use.
For example, it ensures that given the waste of food around the world, the agricultural industry has opportunities to use less water and therefore allocate it for human consumption.
“Globally we should be using less water for agriculture when there is enormous food waste.
“Is it a water crisis? No, it is a problem of our model. It is not possible that we still use the best water quality for irrigation. That is something that must change," he added.
10. Maintain the infrastructure
Maintaining an infrastructure that is capable of efficiently providing water to citizens without affecting its quality is essential, says Frank Loge, director of the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency at the University of California at Davis in the United States.
Loge noted that the water crisis also requires water providers to focus on distribution.
“There are options that providers can take to make their distribution systems more efficient, such as increasing pipe diameters, adjusting to topography and using alternative, more resistant materials,” he said.
11. Use data to create models and simulations
Loge also advised the collection and use of data on the use and distribution of water.
“This data can be used to make water systems (in cities) more efficient.
"With the data you can create hydrological models, do scenario simulations and see if the systems can withstand when there are leaks or how much energy is needed to cover the demand," Loge concluded.
The International Water Forum 2022
The International Water Forum is an initiative of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, whose vision is to position Monterrey as the Latin American space for the discussion of border issues around water.
Its objectives for the 2022 edition were:
1.Analyze and share the experiences of internationally emblematic cities that had to face their Day Zero, when running out of water.
2.Discuss, based on selected international and national experiences, pressing challenges in urban water management.
3.Present research papers by Tecnológico de Monterrey students on water security.
It was held on October 6 and 7 in the Rectory Hall, on the Monterrey campus.
News originally published in CONECTA, website news of Tecnológico de Monterrey