By Néstor Roque Solís
We must recover the primitive value of water, its social and personal value. In short, a society that is also involved in properly managing the resource to distribute it with parameters of efficiency, quality and cooperation of all users.
The problem of water, in Huacho or in China, is that every day we have fewer water resources, and on the other hand we have more population to serve with this service. To face such a serious problem, it is necessary: first, to promote a culture of adequate water use, and secondly, to improve the efficiency of EMAPA HUACHO's technical, administrative and financial management; and neither of the two things have been done to date, no matter how many distinctions the municipal service provider institution has received in the province.
In terms of efficiency, the best recognition that a company or an institution can have is not what third parties think, but what their own customers say. And the 18,000 clients that EMAPA-HUACHO currently has point out that the service is poor and the water consumed is not of good quality.
Many criticisms have been heard from civil society about the water situation in the city of Huacho in the popular consultation on the management issue of EMAPA-HUACHO, at the call of Mayor Pedro Zurita to hear the report of a team of consultants from the Ministry of Housing and Construction.
The leader Nelly Díaz in the citizen consultation on Monday, August 10, held at the premises of the Union Workers' Society, said: Water, a matter of life and death. How right is the neighborhood leader, because water really generates life, and causes deaths when it is scarce or is consumed contaminated.
It is always good to open the debate that stimulates citizen participation and the presentation of truthful technical information, in a lofty and responsible dialogue; that deprives the water of too mercantilist pressures that prevent everyone from understanding its social relevance, and not just one part.
The workers of EMAPA-Huacho have a legitimate right to take care of their job, the users to demand an efficient and quality service and the authorities to improve the economic and financial management of the present and the future of the liquid element. Water is a right and an obligation for everyone.
Huacho requires a management that contemplates an integral alternative of multipurpose of the water service. Selective use of water, rather than its indiscriminate use. Management that knows that reducing water waste today is one of the most valuable alternatives for the future.
Water is everyone's problem and for everyone
Difficult years are coming with water in the provinces, districts and peasant communities. It is necessary to work on a master plan for the adequate treatment of the water resource in each of the basins and valleys of the Lima region.
The central government and the regional government have financial resources, but few viable projects to execute. Faced with a water resource crisis, they intend to hand it over to the private sector in concession. We believe that the State cannot do everything, private investment is always required, which has a four-to-one ratio. The private sector invests four and the State only one. Therefore, development in this model rests on private sector initiatives. But this does not mean that the State represented in its different subnational governments does not administer and manage productive and service companies.
What happens is that a myth has been created, that the State government is a bad businessman, and obviously there are many cases that companies and public entities have been left in the past with a bureaucratic burden that is not an example to follow. So what is involved is reengineering for modernization and business management in public entities. This is called modernization of the State that the central, regional and local governments do not want to hear, much less apply.
Why is a Regional President trying to solve the problem of the Andahuasi private company and not solve the problems that he has in his own home, such as water, education, health and the environment? Because, the doors of international technical cooperation are not touched, as other Regional Presidents of the south and north have been doing for the execution of large projects and connection for commercial exchange with the Brazilian market, for which they have already established relationships with public and private institutions in neighboring countries and with multinational organizations such as the South American Regional Infrastructure Initiative (IIRSA); Amazon Cooperation Treaty; Binational Development Plan Peru-Brazil; Projects to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); Projects to the Andean Development Corporation (CAF) and Participation in the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) which is now under the administration of the national representation.
EMAPA needs growth, efficiency and quality
Growth, efficiency and quality are the fuel on which the type of company rests in Peru and in the world within the society that we have. It's not so trivial to resign yourself to weak and mediocre efficiency, quality and growth. By accepting that, one has to prepare for the next step, which is to hand over the direction of the company to do better. The companies of these times do not survive with low rates of growth and profitability. Another model yes, but it implies much more participation of the State, and this is not the reality of Peru today.
It must be said clearly: a modern State should not only be there to privatize the few resources and assets that it has left, nor only to be the support and promulgator of laws that support a model that denies participation.
Why can't a modern, efficient and transparent State manage, invest or buy companies that generate profits for the health, education and services of the poorest? It is understood that the free economy and the free market are for everyone.
The proposal may sound reckless or like an outrage to the current model, because it has always been said that the State is a bad administrator, but, if it sets objectives, performance indicators and quantitative and qualitative results in the EMAPA company or any other public company , it is certain that it will be a competitive and quality company. Various experiences of successful companies run by the State exist in Latin America: CODELCO in Chile, PETROBRAS IN Brazil, PDVSA in Venezuela.
The success of companies in the information and knowledge era is measured here in Huacho or in China by the behavior of the development culture, capacities and competencies of the people who make up and direct a company, and not by the name or business organization model imposed by its shareholders.
Social and business implications of water
Water is not only essential for life: it is life itself. It seems reasonable to worry about the current and future state of water in the province and in the Lima region. The key word, which reflects the current water situation and its future prospects at a global level, is the scarcity that is noticed day and every hour.
The rapidly increasing water deficit in river basins calls for an entirely new approach to hydrological policy, one that focuses not only on increasing supply, but also on efficiently managing demand. The management of water scarcity will affect the territories, what is produced and what is eaten from now on.
Faced with this situation, work has been done on water management and basic sanitation models, taking into account the participation of the community. This is the model to be implemented since it has been proven that community participation in development projects gives good results, when the affected population is involved in the projects with responsibility, and is allowed to contribute their knowledge to the configuration of these, making work more efficient and productive.
At the same time, the ability of individuals to organize themselves in order to find solutions to the problems that afflict them is increased. Generating management capacity in the communities implies assuming projects related to water problems, from a broader perspective.
We must recover the primitive value of water, its social and personal value. We expect that from EMAPA-HUACHO, and from its user population.
We are warned: water is a matter of life and death. We hope that in other audiences or forums we will put aside shouting and provocations, and move on to intelligent contributions, because water is not played or sold for economic and political interests: we all know that it has a social and human function.
Nestor Roque Solís - IGDC President
www.igdcconsultores.com - Peru