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Universidad del Valle de México professor and students work to help local communities

Project brings water from Sinaloa and Sonora to drought stricken northern Mexico

27/06/2013


Universidad del Valle de México professor and students work to help local communities

The problem of limited water in northern states of Mexico is about to have a solution. Studies, research, plans and projects are under way to reduce or end this problem that afflicts the civilian population, agricultural and livestock sectors every year. Professor Fidel Trejo Orozco and a group of students from Universidad del Valle de Mexico Campus Torreón have created a project that will bring water from the coasts of Sonora and Sinaloa, without damaging the environment.

The UVM Campus Torreón professor commented that if water needed to be brought directly it would need to traverse a distance of 600 or 1,000 kilometers, respetively. However, the plan proposed by Fidel Trejo Orozco, is to "transfer water between different dams that are located throughout the Laguna Region and those that are in the states of Chihuahua, Durango, Sonora and Sinaloa. We’re not exactly going to bring piped water to the Laguna region in the first instance, but it is a more general plan to hydrate northern Mexico to manufacture these water transfers to benefit all the regions it passes through."

The idea, the professor and his students are proposing, is to leverage solar energy to desalinate the water and also to generate electricity, "the process can be developed without investing in more energy than that which can be obtained from the sun. Unlike other plans, ours generates other products: the two main outcomes from the process are clean water and electricity, a third product would be obtaining brine, sea salt, which is also marketable," he said.

Professor Fidel Trejo Orozco’s project could benefit all of the approximately 14 million people that live in northern Mexico. The project will also support the industry and agriculture of the region, which are among the most productive in the country. The project has been presented at various forums in the north. "We know that this project is more profitable than others, that is what motivates us to continue striving to present a more complete model with costs, with economic and social benefits and, of course, with implications for the states."

The north is one of the country’s driest regions. The energy that can be obtained with this project is sufficient to desalinate water, which takes several hundred megawatts, "but this same energy can help us to generate some tens of megawatts that can be distributed throughout northern Mexico, or they can be sold to the Southern United States to be more cost effective, this would make the project more attractive and obviously attract the interest of governments to carry it," said Fidel Trejo Orozco.

For the UVM professor, the project is a real solution to the water shortage and drought problems in the Laguna Region and the north, as "it can provide water whenever it is needed and allow us to rehydrate northern Mexico. If we combine the use of small organic dams as is currently done in Germany, which protect wildlife especially the fish, along with the use of solar energy we would more than cover the energy needs and water requirements, "he said.

Extraction wells in the Laguna Region pull approximately one billion cubic meters of water a year, only 500 million of which are replenished, "Coahuila and Durango are starting to suffer from a severe drought, which will cause thousands of head of cattle to die. There is already a severe water shortage crisis. The solution can’t just be regional, we must work together to solve this problem that affects multiple states," he concluded.

This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.