Mexico City
Mexico City

UTSA speaker series hosts Mexican urban planner

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(Feb. 27, 2007)--The UTSA Mexico Center Brown Bag Speaker Series will present urban planner and economist Manuel Perlo of the Universidad Autonoma Nacional de Mexico (UNAM), speaking on planning for the growing infrastructure needs of the 20 million people of Mexico City.

Free and open to the public, participants are invited to bring a lunch to the presentation set for 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 28 in the Buena Vista Street Building Assembly Room (1.338) at the UTSA Downtown Campus.

According to Perlo, who has spent many years studying water consumption throughout Latin America, Mexico City's water system "hangs by a thread." Water consumption is a common issue for San Antonio, Mexico City and the Texas-Mexico border region. The UTSA Mexico Center 2006-2007 agenda includes conferences and symposia to discuss and promote policy recommendations and bilateral solutions to issues relevant to the United States and Mexico.

Currently the UNAM director of urban studies, Perlo earned a doctorate in urban planning from the University of California at Berkeley and a bachelor's degree in economics from UNAM. His research analyzes populations, trends and needs, applying economic and sociological approaches to urban planning.

Perló estimates that 1.4 billion people worldwide live without drinkable water and that sickness from drinking contaminated water kills seven million people each year. In Mexico, 16.5 percent of the population lives without drinkable water, and Mexico City districts can go weeks at a time without running water.

A March 2006 New York Times article citing Perlo's work said that Mexico City consumes water at twice the rate it replenishes it. One of the solutions has been to pump water from an alternate source 80 miles away, which requires diverting the course of a river that once supplied the Mazahua Indians. After 25 years, the tribe still has not received the running water it was promised.

According to Perlo, "serious institutional confusion" is part of the problem. In Mexico City, more than 20 agencies oversee water resources, creating duplication in management, as well as contradictions in policies from agency to agency.

For more information, contact the UTSA Mexico Center at (210) 458-2849.

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