Project Global: Water


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Corrupted Water


The noun corruption comes from Latin — com, meaning “with, together,” and rumpere, meaning “to break.” Its origin alludes to the deliberate rupture of something that has lost its nature. However, corruption does not entail necessarily the breaking of the law, it means to break expectations that dictate what is an appropriate behavior.

The water sector, being a field that requires large capital investments, increases the probability of greater benefits derived from irregular acts. This phenomenon is present in: the allocation and execution of water infrastructure projects, granting of concessions, management of operating agencies and in the development of water works.1 According to Stalgren (2006), the presence of fraud and corruption increases the cost of works for water supply by 20 and 40%.2

Concessions are not always granted following due procedures or with the vision of guaranteeing the sustainability of water resources.They are often authorized despite the fact that the body of water where they will be located has a proven deficit. Similarly, concessions are normally awarded without giving priority to domestic use or urban public use, which jeopardizes compliance with the human right to water.

Climate change, population growth and economic development impose restrictions on the amount of water available. Contrary, these restrictions are not always applied due to the existence of this ingredient known as “corruption”, a globalized element that belongs to the internal functioning of water management.

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Volume of water extracted through granted concessions in Mexico City.

Sources: Mexican Government https://www.gob.mx/conagua/acciones-y-programas/informacion-estadistica-62159



  1. Corruption and water management, https://www.ethos.org.mx/ethos
  2. Water Integrity Network. https://www.waterintegritynetwork.net/


Failure, Exploitation, Politics