translated from Spanish: Constellation operation will not affect water supply in Mexicali: Semarnat

With a projection of consuming 5.8 million cubic meters of water per year, the operation of the brewer Constellation Brands would not affect the supply for Mexicali, considered the head of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), Victor Manuel Toledo Manzur.
During a meeting this Friday in Mexicali with federal authorities, locals, researchers, collectives that oppose the installation of the Constellation Brands plant, entrepreneurs and representatives of the brewery, Toledo said that the consumption projection that the production and distributor in the United States of Corona beer represents less than 1% of the liquid available in the municipality.
The meeting was held at a private university in Mexicali, which was guarded by National Guard agents, local and private police men who guarded the institution and held rondines with patrols to avoid any kind of demonstration, which have been a constant in the face of the opposition for the installation of the brewery plant in the capital city of Baja California, Mexico, adjoining California.
Read: Conacyt study detected anomalies at Constellation Brands brewery installation in BC
Toledo accepted that the issue of the brewery keeps the Mexican government in a dilemma, because in the face of 60% progress, the company is covered by international laws that protect foreign investment, which could mean million-dollar lawsuits against the country.
Still, the secretary said they still don’t have a definitive stance on the operation or not of the brewery, but predicted that the decision should be made in about a month.
Questioned about the position of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, when he criticized the installation of breweries in desert areas where water is scarce, the secretary replied that “the president’s decision is based on common sense, that industries that require water should not actually be opened and that, in any case, they must be moved to the parts where there is water, such as the southeast and a part of the center of the country”.
Toledo Manzur said that based on the human right to water and the right of a community, from a plebiscite or public consultation this work could be stopped.
The fight for water that has confronted citizens, government and a brewerin in Baja California
During the meeting, the secretary heard presentations by water scientists, and also met with a collective of 25 groups of environmentalists.
“You would have to find out if a plebiscite, made by the Mexicali Valley society, could stop such a work,” the federal official said.
According to an official press release, in her participation the director general of the National Water Commission (Conagua), Blanca Jiménez Cisneros, said that the Mexicali Valley faces significant challenges to use water responsibly, since more water is extracted than is recharged.
“Although the supply for the population of the Mexicali Valley is assured for the next 50 years, investment in hydro-agricultural infrastructure is required to reduce aquifer overexploitation and make more efficient use of irrigation.”
The Federal Attorney for Environmental Protection (Profepa), Blanca Alicia Mendoza Vera, called for ordering the uses of water and carrying out an adequate management of it for the benefit of Mexicans, but also of species. “The human right to water is linked to the human right to the environment, and involves repairing the environmental damage caused by productive activities.”
AMLO promises to investigate Constellation Brands, at demand of Baja California villagers
The hydrology coordinator of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), Agustín Breña Naranjo, stated that this cross-border basin is over-concessioned and with water stress, so it is necessary to propose best practices in water management with new technologies in agriculture, such as irrigation technology, as well as the involvement of the community through forums of citizen participation and participatory public policies.
The researcher of the College of the Northern Frontier, Alfonso Cortés Lara, referred to a study requested by the Conacyt in which it is concluded that the installation of the brewery plant would bring with it the deepening of the risks of prolonged drought, at the Colorado River basin level, among other consequences.
Learn: Constellation Brands has not requested water permits to operate its brewery in Mexicali: Conagua
The company Constellation Brands issued separately a statement stating that during this Friday’s meeting the “actors we participated in… we exchange opinions respectfully and transparently with the well-being of Baja California and its people in mind. As a company, we had the opportunity to inform attendees that the authority approved the use of 5.8 million m3 per year for the operation of the brewery, and through water infrastructure projects we are committed to maintaining a neutral operational water footprint. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with experts and authorities to build a better community.”
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Original source in Spanish

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