Consulate General of the United States in Tijuana
The US and Mexican governments met today in Tijuana to discuss issues of transboundary water pollution along the shared border. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan and U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Ken Salazar led the U.S. delegation, which also included the Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) and the US representative Scott Peters. Mexico was represented by the Head of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) of the North American Unit Roberto Velasco lvarez and the Director of International Affairs of the Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) Miguel Ángel Zeron as well as the Consul General of Mexico in San Diego Carlos González Gutiérrez, Deputy Technical Director of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) Humberto Marengo, Commissioner Adriana Reséndez Maldonado of the Mexican Section of the IBWC and representatives of the authorities of the State of Baja California for water and sanitation.
Recognizing the critical importance of tackling water pollution for the benefit of citizens on both sides of the border, the US and Mexican delegations reviewed the important progress made in reducing pollution levels. Mexico highlighted its $ 46 million investment by local, state and federal authorities completed between 2019 and 2021 in water purification projects for the Tijuana River, including recent upgrades to the resort. pumping station in Tijuana as well as numerous infrastructure repair projects financed by CONAGUA. and EPA to reduce wastewater flows.
The US and Mexican delegations agreed that reducing the transboundary flow of polluted water into the Tijuana River, canyons and the coast is a high priority for both countries and pledged to continue their joint efforts to further reduce water levels. pollution.
As part of these efforts, delegations discussed plans for EPA’s upcoming $ 300 million investment that will reduce transboundary wastewater flows into the Tijuana River and along the Pacific coast in the part of a comprehensive plan announced on November 8, 2021 (link to EPA press release).
The United States stressed that this comprehensive plan will provide reliable wastewater treatment to more than 500,000 residents of Tijuana. Additionally, the plan will benefit the thousands of San Diego County residents and tourists who enjoy the Tijuana River Valley and local beaches, while significantly reducing the flow of untreated wastewater impacting communities. and the American and Mexican ecosystems.
Mexico highlighted the recent investment in the expansion and modernization of the CILA pumping station, noting that these improvements had reduced cross-border flows for the first time in decades. Mexico also reported on the new regional plan jointly developed by the federal government and the state of Baja California to address transboundary pollution flows.
The two governments reaffirmed their joint commitment to take coordinated action to find a sustainable solution to transboundary pollution flows, with CONAGUA reaffirming its intention to finance wastewater treatment, collection and reuse projects in Tijuana. The Mexican delegation also presented a new draft “Special Northern Border Sanitation Program” which will be used to seek additional resources for future projects.
In particular, the US and Mexican delegations agreed to further coordinate projects and funding sources related to wastewater collection, reuse of wastewater from La Morita and Arturo Herrera wastewater treatment plants and rehabilitation of the San Antonio de los Buenos wastewater treatment plant to treat wastewater. coastal communities.
Through these binational cooperative efforts, the water quality of the Tijuana River and along the Pacific coast will improve dramatically, thereby improving public health, restoring ecosystems and creating new recreational opportunities on both sides. from the border. These projects will also provide important opportunities for reuse of wastewater in a drought-prone region.