As global industries pivot towards nearshoring, Mexico has become a favored destination for relocating supply chains from Asia. The backdrop of nearshoring amplifies Mexico's pre-existing water challenges, pushing both local and national stakeholders to drive innovative solutions, bolster policies, and harness technology to meet the surging demand, particularly in cities like Monterrey that epitomize nearshoring benefits yet grapple with water shortages.
Corporate Responsibility and Government Collaboration
The crossroads between nearshoring and industrial water management manifests vividly in Monterrey. The city showcases an escalating demand for water due to industrial expansion, and necessitating accelerated local policies, innovative technological interventions, and optimal extraction efficiency to address water challenges.
Conversations around corporate responsibility and transparency in water utilization have started gaining momentum. While companies seek security, infrastructure, and renewable energy, it is also essential for government entities to regulate water usage in production processes. The onus of addressing water challenges is more than just on the industrial entities; it is a collaborative endeavor with the government.
Key Water Projects Underway
A significant stride towards alleviating water challenges is the progression of crucial water projects under the aegis of the Mexican water authority, Conagua. With a priority portfolio of 93.5 billion pesos (US$5.3 billion), Conagua has earmarked 15 pivotal water projects, five nearing completion this year. These encompass a range of initiatives, including aqueducts, dams, and water treatment programs across various Mexican states.
For instance, the El Zapotillo dam in Jalisco, poised to supply water to Guadalajara, reflects a notable step towards enhancing water supply infrastructure. Similarly, the El Cuchillo II aqueduct in Nuevo León, with 70% completion, aims to satiate Monterrey's burgeoning water demands. The Agua Saludable para La Laguna program between Durango and Coahuila, the Santa María dam in Sinaloa, and the Alejandro Gascón Mercado irrigation district in Nayarit further illustrate Mexico's concerted efforts to tackle water scarcity amidst the nearshoring wave.
An Industry Shift Towards Sustainable Water Usage
Heavy industries like paper and steel mills and power plants, which are significant water consumers, are now transitioning towards more sustainable practices. A remarkable illustration is the Argentine steel company Ternium, announcing a US $3.2 billion investment in its Nuevo León plant, integrating recycled wastewater into production processes. This depicts a growing industry trend where global best practices are shared and implemented to mitigate water usage.
The evolution of water technologies and shared best practices across industries, including competitors, is driving a paradigm shift towards reducing water footprints. Investments in technologies that control, monitor, reduce, reuse, and recycle water are not merely about environmental stewardship but a pragmatic approach, given the high costs associated with water in Mexico.
Crafting a Sustainable Future
As nearshoring propels industrial growth in Mexico, addressing the water challenges through a blend of policy reform, technological innovation, and corporate responsibility is indispensable. Monterrey, among other cities, stands as a testament to the potential rewards and water challenges that lie in the trajectory of nearshoring, underlining the need for a cooperative framework to secure sustainable water supplies across Mexico.