The ruling of the Supreme Court of Justice, which last week forced the Matanza-Riachuelo Watershed Authority (ACUMAR, for its acronym in Spanish) to start water treatment, came two years after the maximum court had appealed to the National State, Province of Buenos Aires and the City, to present a program to clean the Riachuelo. In the wake of ACUMAR, other factors that led to the judges' pronouncement were added: the projects generated by the parties at this time had differences between them, which showed the lack of coordination of the joint tasks and, in some cases; they were reissues of studies with several years of antiquity.
The ACUMAR, which will be subject to the sanctions envisaged by the Court in the event of failure to comply with the ruling, was created in November 2006 to replace the Executing Committee of the Matanza-Riachuelo Basin Management and Environmental Management Plan (CEMR). 1995. A report from the General Audit Office of the Nation (AGN) indicates that during the existence of the CEMR the progress in the sanitation of the Basin was "null".
In the first place, the environmental management plan was not a sanitation program, says the control body, but it acted as a "complement" to the project that the Nation agreed with the company that provided the water service, Aguas Argentinas SA, Which consisted of the construction of the cloacal system in Cuenca. The CEMR was coordinated by the then Secretary of Natural Resources and Human Environment of the Nation, which was, at the same time, in charge of controlling compliance with the concession agreement of Aguas Argentinas S.A. And all the works related to sanitation, such as the extension of the sewage network and the treatment of effluents, were included in the contract that was rescinded in September 2005. The AGN points out that 55% of those living in surrounding areas To the Riachuelo, about 2.7 million people, do not have sewers.
On the other hand, the Audit affirms that the CEMR "never got to develop concrete actions to control the polluting industries", although the Natural Resources Secretariat was also the authority to apply the legislation on water pollution. In the Basin are settled more than 3,500 companies that eliminate the Riachuelo about 89,000 cubic meters of polluting liquids per day.
In addition, the execution of the budget that had the jurisdictions in those years was "low and deficient", affirms the AGN. It is that of a loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) of 1998 for US $ 250 million, until 2006, only US $ 7,762,790 was used. The deadline for the disbursement of the loan was five years, from February 1998 to the same month of 2003, and all three jurisdictions would have access to the funds, but despite having been co-executing in 2000, the province of Buenos Aires did not carry out any work with that money and only paid financial costs until 2004. Also, the agreement with the IDB initially foresaw a commitment commission, the money that the State must pay as compensation for the funds not executed in term, Of US $ 5,035,000, and up to 2004 US $ 6,907,476 had already been paid for this concept.
Finally, the Audit Report concluded that the CEMR was not a basin authority, that is, it lacked its own functions and institutional weight to coordinate the jurisdictions that constituted it, which, having their own regulations in force, produced a superposition of Competencies.