Friday 24 March 2017, 16:30, Prof.dr. G. Berkhoff-zaal
Context matters: water governance assessment of the wastewater treatment plant policy in central mexico
A lack of wastewater treatment is one of the main water problems worldwide. In high-income countries, 70% of wastewater is typically treated, but the rate falls to an average 28% in lower-middle-income countries. This low level has negative consequences for human health and for nature, with high economic costs. One response is the construction of wastewater treatment plants (WTP). In Mexico, the federal government has made efforts to increase the WTP capacity. However, neither of the last two federal administrations has achieved the intended goals, and very few studies have been conducted to find out why. This research starts from the premise that contextual factors play an important role in restricting or supporting policy implementation. Consequently, this article-based research analyses the governance context in central Mexico by employing Contextual Interaction Theory and the Governance Assessment Tool. Three cases were selected from the most polluted basins in Mexico. Data collection involved 66 semi-structured in-depth interviews with stakeholders. The main conclusions were that the existing context generally restricts WTP policy implementation and that Integrated Water Resources Management implementation and decentralization are only symbolic. The most restrictive instance was found to be where the participation of the state government was particularly limited. As such, strengthening the role of the state government, and improving mechanisms that currently limit the impact of political game, could be instrumental in increasing the support offered by the governance context.