Protesters turn off the water at the Yuribia dam Protesters turn off the water at the Yuribia dam four years ago.

Water supplier can’t pay aguinaldo

Water woes affect workers and consumers in Veracruz

It wasn’t a very nice Christmas for some 1,600 employees of the water system in the city of Veracruz, according to the leader of their union.

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Yesterday, they took to the streets, marching from the offices of the Water and Sanitation System (SAS) to the zócalo to press for payment of their aguinaldo, or year-end bonus, and other moneys that are owed.

The bonus was due to be paid December 20 but SAS director José Tello Allende claims there isn’t any money, and until the state comes through with a loan that has been requested, there won’t be any payments.

The union said its members spent a sad Christmas without money and they are fearful that the situation will not change before the end of the year. Secretary general Angélica Navarrete advised that if the payments are not deposited today the red and black strike flags will go up tomorrow on all SAS facilities — water plants, wells and offices.

The SAS supplies water to 1 million residents of Veracruz, Boca del Río and Medellín.

Down in Coatzacoalcos, meanwhile, in the south of the state of Veracruz, residents are threatening to withhold payments of their water bills and property taxes because they have been without water for three weeks.

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Dozens of people burned their water bills yesterday at the municipal offices.

Water for the city, along with that for Cosolecaque and Minatitlán, was turned off December 4 by ejido residents in Tatahuicapan who took over the Yuribia dam, which supplies water to half a million people in the three cities. The residents claim that the state of Veracruz has not honored its commitments to the residents of the ejidos, or communal lands.

It is a dispute that has been going on for several years.

Thirty wells have been dug in an effort to compensate for the loss of water from the dam but their output hasn’t been enough.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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