CAPAMA Sinks in Corruption and Debts
(Acapulco, NA 20 August) Novedades Acapulco published yesterday an exposé of CAPAMA, Acapulco’s embattled water authority, pointing to its utter inability to perform its mission. More than half of its installed capacity of water treatment plants and tanker trucks are out of service, and the aged pipe distribution system springs leaks faster than the company can repair them. The company is strangled by over $400 million pesos in debt and an enormous backlog of unpaid accounts payable, not to mention salaries and worker benefits. Added to this, according to Novedades, is the fatal impact of theft and corruption. Many employees have discovered the approximately 20,000 illegal water taps and connections in Acapulco, and collect money from those who maintain them. CAPAMA loses an approximate $100 million pesos per year because of that.
Brígida Rosa María Trani Torralva, head of the finance committee of the city council, mentioned that the peddling of influence, the political patronage and nepotism have also damaged the economic stability of the entity, as unqualified people who perform no work take up space on the payroll and participate in the looting of the assets of the company. “CAPAMA should be non-political,” she said, “and stick to its technical function. It is indispensable that we restructure it and impose greater supervision on the meter readers and on those who arrange for new hookups.” She also pointed out that property owners with years and years of unpaid water bills, who have friends in high places of government, manage to compromise their obligations for a tiny percentage of the amount due. Thus the organism loses another considerable quantity of money. In short, the money leaks are worse than the water leaks. “If we had clear detection of the clandestine hook-ups in the tourist zone and the [wealthier] subdivisions, CAPAMA would receive millions of pesos more than it does now. It really does not have a real census of who its true customers are,” said the councilwoman.