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Corruption Blamed for Neighborhood Flooding

By: David Real | Real Acapulco News - 20 October, 2010

(Acapulco, UG 20 October) “It’s an everyday occurrence,” says German Urbán Lamadrid, a professor in the BioChemistry department at the Autonomous University of Guerrero and an expert in hydrology and public systems for water supply. He was referring to the floods and mudslides in the poorer areas of Chilpancingo and Acapulco during the time of heavy rains. In a conference on the Water Agenda for Guerrero’s Pacific coast, he stated that the main problem is not science, but rather the corruption of officials and politicians. “They will approve projects and issue building permits in exchange for bribes, with no concern for public safety. As a result entire neighborhoods are in constant peril from flooding and landslides," he said. He added as an example, that the waters of the Sabana river, which flow to the port, back up every 5 or 10 years, and "this is never taken into consideration."

Professor Urbán pointed to Renacimiento, Zapata, Costa Azul, and even the Diana Traffic circle as areas under constant threat of flooding. He added that new areas in Chilpancingo suffer from the same malady.

One problem, according to Professor Urbán, is that few long-term water table studies have been made. Even so, neighborhoods in Rena and Zapata flood almost every year. Others flood only when the Sabana river overflows its banks, but that can happen once or twice in a decade, the professor explained. “The river basin can double or triple in size at those times.” In addition to corruption, the professor cited changes in land use and errors in urban planning policies as causes for the chronic flooding of homes.

In Costa Chica communities like Marquelia, Copala and Nexpa, the problem is the lack of solid engineering data to determine the periodicity and size of the threat from unusually large water flow. He said, “In a large number of the river basins, we have problems that can potentially endanger all of Costa Chica.”

With respect to urban areas, like Costa Azul, a large part of the problem is the garbage, which clogs the antiquated system of storm drains, so that heavy rains frequently put the Costera under as much as two feet of water. The municipal government of Acapulco, under Manuel Añorve, has systematically been working to upgrade and clear the drainage system in Costa Azul to prevent the problem in ensuing rainy seasons.