The purpose of this document is to inform you of the new Citizen Initiative of the General Water Law (hereinafter the “Initiative” or the “Law”, indistinctly) so that you know the new authorities of the National Water System and prevent the legal implications of the new water management regime in our country, in order to reduce operational risks in its industry; the foregoing in the event that it is approved by the Congress of the Union and in light of the following:
In the first place, it should be noted that the Water Initiative will have a greater legal impact at the national level, since it will be "General Law", therefore, it will oblige all States and Municipalities to adapt their legislation in accordance with said Law, to Unlike the one currently in force which is purely federal.
On the other hand, within the explanatory memorandum of said Initiative, it is stated that priority will be given to “replacing the logic of the water market and unilateral authority”, giving priority to the rights of the peoples to participate in the use, administration and conservation of natural resources, such as water. Ratifying the previous point, noting that the new "General Law" will serve as the basis for the new institutional, participatory and fundamental rights-centered design, which will involve a new generation of state laws with the same focus.
Similarly, the Initiative points out that the current Public Registry of Water Rights was designed mainly to provide security to large concessionaires in the face of the "water markets", so the new Initiative proposes that the Public Registry be adapted to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and agrarian nuclei, such as ejidos and communities, and facilitate the transition towards equitable and sustainable access to water resources, since according to the explanatory statement, the concessionaires' 2% controls 70% of the volume granted.
By virtue of the ideas previously exposed by the legislator, the water concessions regime will be considerably affected for the Industry, since it will have a priority of granting, namely: first to (I) the rights of the peoples to the waters of their territory and agrarian nuclei and will be permanent without the need for renewal, then the (II) assignments and concessions for the state, municipal and metropolitan water and sanitation distribution system, ensuring standard access for domestic personal use and public services for all users and finally for the (III) regime of concessions for large users, understood as concessions of more than 500 thousand cubic meters per year.
Due to the foregoing, the transitory regime grants the Commission the power to declare null and void, in accordance with article 29 bis 3 of the current law, all assignments or concessions of national waters that are located in indigenous territories and that have been granted without consulting them.
In this sense, the Initiative will promote planned processes to reduce concession volumes, until achieving equitable and sustainable access to water, highlighting that concessions to large users, such as Industry, will be valid for 2 years and will be renewable. Finally, this Initiative establishes the prohibition that no individual may be the holder of concessions whose total value at the national level exceeds 500 thousand cubic meters per year.
However, the new substantive regime of water administration worries too much, the priority and priority of the use and enjoyment of water resources for agrarian nuclei and towns, especially that the authority is granted to review previously granted concessions, in detriment to the acquired rights of the concessionaires.
As for the new authorities that the Initiative provides within the Ninth Title, they are: the (I) Social Comptroller of Water and the (II) Water Ombudsman's Office as mechanisms for the procurement of water justice and the proper functioning of the new National Water System.
In the case of the Social Comptroller of Water, it is defined as a citizen mechanism to monitor the public function and compliance with the regulations of individuals, as well as ensure the composition and operation of the coordination bodies between citizens, peoples and the governments.
Said Comptroller's Office will be made up of “self-organized units” by the towns and the citizens, in the water management scales, namely: national, regional, zonal, by federal entity, municipality and by mayor's office, in the case of the City of Mexico. Among its powers, it stands out that of verifying the proper composition and functioning of the coordination bodies, as well as compliance with the acts of the authorities that have an impact on the waters or basins in its territorial scope.
On the other hand, the Ombudsman for Water will be constituted as a decentralized body of the National Council of Waters and Basins and will be in charge of providing legal and technical advice on the human right to water, as well as acting before administrative and judicial courts and representing before them to affected people, for the defense of this right, other associated human rights and the conservation of waters and ecosystems. By virtue of the foregoing, a public defender's office will be created, strictly for water justice.
In addition to the above, the Initiative establishes a new administration of territorial districts of CONAGUA, establishing in the transitory regime that within a maximum period of one month from the entry into force of said Law, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and The National Water Commission, together with universities and research centers, will carry out a new delimitation of the hydrological-administrative regions that allows the integral management of water, going from the current 13 regions to 32 delimited ones, called Regional Executing Bodies.
Finally, another actor that may be relevant in the management of watersheds and as a counterweight to the granting of concessions at the national level, is the Assembly of Native Peoples of the Regional Council, which will be made up of indigenous communities or peoples registered with the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples and according to the new Initiative will be collective subjects of public law, and will have preferential use and enjoyment over the waters in the places they inhabit and occupy, so they will be able to take the necessary legal actions to face projects or activities that could affect its water source.