By KELIN DILLON
On Saturday, June 5, Governor of the Mexican state of Nuevo León Samuel García Sepúlveda spoke out in criticism of the federal government’s response to the enduring water shortage in his jurisdiction, claiming that the Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) administration has little interest in aiding its citizens affected by the drought.
Recounting Nuevo León’s – Mexico’s most wealthy state – history of lending a helping hand to other states in times of need, García Sepúlveda claimed the northern state is left hanging out to dry when going through its own difficulties.
“We Neolonese are there whenever there is an earthquake in Mexico City, a hurricane in Guerrero or a catastrophe in Chiapas. We are the first to gather money and pipes and send help,” said García Sepúlveda. “Check the telethons to see which state gives the most money when there is a crisis – it is always us, and yet the federal government gives us nothing.”
He went on to say, “Right now that we are in crisis, it doesn’t even send a basic food basket. No one offers to lend a hand.”
García Sepúlveda made his statement while touring the local municipality General Terán, where the Nuevo León governor struck a deal with irrigators of the Pilón River for the rights to 40 percent of its water, following news that a group of armed men tried to hijack one of the state’s water pipes.
For his part, López Obrador responded to García Sepúlveda’s claims during his daily morning press conference on Monday, June 27, asking García Sepúlveda and the Nuevo León authorities to give water distribution priority to the state’s domestic residents ahead of its enterprises, while claiming the federal government is here to support Nuevo León through the water shortage crisis.
“The state is being supported,” said AMLO. “There is an investment for the Libertad Dam to supply water to Monterrey and the greater Nuevo León area. We are helping to the extent that a National Water Commission (Conagua) official was asked to take charge of water management and how to deal with the crisis.”
López Obrador said that he felt hat an agreement is needed in Nuevo León, and that his administration is willing to help with this..
“Preference should be given to domestic consumption. In an emergency situation, you have to prioritize, you have to serve the people first and not allocate water for companies,” he said.
“It is an emergency matter and decisions must be made, but that depends on the local authorities and the agreements that can be reached.”