It is estimated that by 2025 half the global

population - almost 4 billion people - could
be subject to serious water shortages. So says
the World Water Council, an organization
made up of various associations, academic
institutions and NGOs.
While developed countries have generally
succeeded in halting the deterioration
of surface water quality, through heavy
investment in treatment plants over the
last 30 years, quality water is still relatively
hard to come by in most of Latin America.
The clear exceptions to this are Chile and
Uruguay. This is because water treatment
plants are very costly and in most countries
in this region the sector suffers from a
chronic lack of access to fnancing.
Moreover, given the limited availability of
water services in most of the region, the
sanitation sector in many countries has
prioritized service coverage, particularly for
distribution of potable water, and only once
this need has been met will water utilities
look at issues such as wastewater treatment.
This report weighs up the varying levels
of development depending on the country,
bearing in mind that some have achieved
signifcant progress in recent years,
according to Eclac.
January 2009
Wastewater treatment makes
it onto the agenda
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The Chilean model
Chile has the highest wastewater treatment
level among Latin American countries,
going from a coverage index of 8% in
1989 to more than 80% today. This is
comparable to the level seen in the United
States and northern European countries.
Attractive markets
While countries like Argentina have closed
their doors to the private sector, Peru has
become notably more open to foreign
investment in the sanitation sector, with
a healthy list of concessions on offer to
support the incumbent state-run service
Slow progress in Brazil
A lack of norms and regulatory legislation
has kept private sector participation to a
minimum in Brazil’s sanitation sector, but
in recent years the government has started
taking steps in the right direction. There is
a lot to be done since Brazil collects around
50% of sewage today, but no more than
32% of the collected water is treated.
Improved sanitation facilities (% of population with access)
Argentina 91
Bolivia 43
Brazil 77
Chile 94
Colombia 78
Costa Rica 96
Cuba 98
D. Republic 79
Ecuador 84
El Salvador 86
Guatemala 84
Haiti 19
Honduras 66
Mexico 81
Nicaragua 48
Panama 74
Paraguay 70
Peru 72
Uruguay 100
Venezuela 86
Source: World Bank
Infrastructure Daily
At the beginning of 2008, Mexico’s government created a
US$3.9 billion National Infrastructure Fund to fnance projects
worth a total of US$25 billion in this sector over the next 5
years. In Brazil, a federal plan to accelerate economic growth
includes investments in the order of US$30 billion in roads
and highways between 2007 and 2010, and in Peru, the road
infrastructure defcit is some US$7 billion.
From whichever angle, infrastructure investment requirements
(and plans) come to billions of dollars. While this is nothing
new, this time round the possibilities of these investments
being made are higher than they’ve ever been before.
his means that in the next few
years, business opportunities
are as numerous as they are
This is the context in which
BNamericas is launching a new
product, the Infrastructure
Intelligence Series, which every
quarter will focus on the biggest
trends and topics within the region
in order for you and your company
to have all the information and
analysis necessary to fnd your way
among the projects and regulations
upon which this growing and
attractive sector of Latin American
business is based.
The Infrastructure Intelligence
Series will focus on topics such as:
· Concessions
· Privatizations
· Port development
· Logistical integration projects
· Airports
· Railways
· Urban transport
· Water and waste treatment
Contact us today to receive a
free 2-week trial subscription:
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© 2010 Business News Americas.
BNamericas is a bilingual news and intelligence service that covers
the most important stories in 12 different business sector throug-
hout Latin America and the Caribbean. Business News Americas’
main offce is located in Santiago, Chile, with full regional presence
in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Caracas and Mexico City.

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Written and researched by
Gustavo Stok
Content Development & Analysis
Raúl Ferro
Executive editor
Henriette Iraçabal
Financial services analyst
María Alejandra Moreno
Telecom analyst
Phil Anderson
Energy analyst
Michael LaGiglia
Financial data analyst
María José Arredondo
Gonzalo Vergara
Carlos Montoya
BNamericas Infrastructure Group
Greta Bourke
Santiago, Chile
Eva Medalla
Catherine Setterfeld
Indiana Corrales
Sao Paulo, Brasil
Daniel Bland
Translated into English by
Patrick Nixon
Designed by
Tamara Lorca