Over a third of the residents of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, have been without running water for more than seven days because the local water commission hasn’t paid its electric bill.
The water stopped running when the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) cut off the power to the Mochitlán water distribution system last week, leaving some areas in the southern and eastern districts of the city dry.
Authorities estimate that over 100,000 people live in the affected area.
Water and Sewer Commission (Capach) manager Juan Antonio Ramírez Valle told the newspaper Milenio that the agency owes almost 10 million pesos (close to US $530,000) to the CFE.
Ramírez explained that Capach needs at least 11 million pesos a month to operate but its average revenues are only 5 million. The commission, he said, is bankrupt.
One of the contributing factors to its financial situation is that only 20% to 25% of its users actually pay for their water. The remainder, said Ramírez, owe a lot.
If Capach is to become a self-sufficient agency “a very big investment is needed, and results will not be obtained for three years.”
The commissioner added that generous and unusual benefits granted to employees further strain the agency’s finances.
Its 367 workers are given 30 days of vacation time, said Ramírez, and the commission is often short of staff.
However, he does not see yet a solution to the “delicate” financial conundrum in which Capach finds itself.
Yesterday the municipality of Chilpancingo delivered a check for 1.2 million pesos to the commission to allow it to finish paying staff their year-end bonus, which was due December 20.
The mayor said he plans to obtain a bank loan of at least 20 million pesos to pay money owed by Capach and the municipal government.