Realito Dam a major challenge for SAPASMA
By Antonio De Jesús Aguado
The Realito Dam will provide water for San Miguel de Allende, Celaya and San Luis Potosí at least for 50 years, although the big challenge will be the construction of an aqueduct to bring it to the city.
On October 31, the city council elected a new board to administer SAPASMA (Water and Drainage System of San Miguel de Allende) for the next three years. The board is made up of José Ulises Valenzuela Delgado as president, Luis Octavio Pérez as secretary and Alberto Mendoza Lasso as treasurer; Juan Rosario Licea Perales and Joaquín Hurtado Stefanonni are also members of the board. Some of them talked to Atención about the greatest challenge SAPASMA must overcome, and they agreed that the major challenge is to bring the water from the Realito, which belongs to San Miguel and Celaya.
In 2011 during a visit to the dam, then President Felipe Calderón said that the dam can hold 50 million cubic meters of water and would provide water for San Miguel and Celaya at least for 50 years. In early 2012, Camilo Gutiérrez, then president of the SAPASMA board, said that from the Realito one cubic meter would be shared between San Miguel (16 percent) and Celaya (84 percent); however, there is no infrastructure for bringing it yet.
On October 9 the Realito Dam was inaugurated by Felipe Calderón and the governors from San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato. During the event it was announced that the state government is working on a project to construct the 172-kilometer aqueduct that will bring the water to this area and prevent a water shortage.
Improving the system
Valenzuela commented that the state government’s idea is to bring the water (160 liters per second) to the low part of the city, but if that happens the cost for transporting the liquid to the high part of San Miguel would cost the municipality a lot of money; for that reason they are working with state, federal and local authorities to find a way to pipe the water to the high part of the city, which would facilitate its distribution. With that water, the potable wells could recuperate water in the meantime. Valenzuela also said that currently the city is divided into two sectors but in 2013 will be divided into 12 in order to provide better service and more easily detect problems.
The president said that a second major project of SAPASMA for next year is the renovation of the hydraulic and sanitary network in Los Rodríguez, the biggest rural community in the municipality with about 5,000 inhabitants. Valenzuela highlighted that they will begin by legalizing the concession of the well, which has irregularities. As well as Valenzuela, Juan Rosario Licea Perales acknowledged that the sewage treatment plant is working at 60 percent of its capacity due to the poor quality of the water that it receives. “It is completely contaminated and it is designed to be used for domestic sewage water,” he said. For that reason they will target their efforts toward a campaign of water culture. The results, remarked Licea, will be evident in the future. Perales also commented that this administration of SAPASMA has the total support of the local government and currently they are trying to get financial resources to build sewage treatment plants.