El Realito Aqueduct, San Luis Potosí, Mexico


The accelerated growth of the urban population and the low availability of fresh water in central Mexico led to the overexploitation of wells’ groundwater in San Luis Potosí (México). That resulted in a cost increase in water extraction, reduction in the extracted water quality, further deterioration of the ecosystem, and higher risk of landslides that put at risk some buildings.


To address the problematic overexploitation of the aquifers CEA-SLP awarded a contract to a private consortium to construct and operate for 23 years El Realito Aqueduct. The infrastructure conducts water from El Realito dam to the water treatment plant through a 132 km pipeline. The water treatment plant has a capacity of 1 m³/s. After the treatment process, the water is delivered to 6 receiving tanks located in San Luis Potosí. From there water is distributed to the city residents and neighbouring areas.


The project was structured as a public-private partnership (PPP) in which the concessionaire, contributes capital and seeks financing (debt), while the public sector provides a subsidy through Apoyo Fonadín (authorized by Finfra/FNI).

SDG Impact:

SDG 3: Good health and well-being resulting from the access to high quality water with no fluoride.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation. Improvement of quality of drinking water clearly complies with SDG 6.

SDG 8:   Decent work and economic growth derived from the temporary and permanent jobs created by the infrastructure.

SDG 10:   Reduced inequalities. The new infrastructure reduces water wells overexploitation reducing the risk of land sinking. These improvements benefit the entire population reducing inequalities.

SDG 11:   Sustainable cities and communities. The infrastructure increases the availability of fresh water to city residents from a sustainable source (dam).

SDG 15:   Life on land since El Realito aqueduct allows for a reduction in the use groundwater thus preserving aquifers and the ecosystem.

SDG 17:   Partnerships for the goals. Participation of the public and private sector with the common goal of improving stock of infrastructures and increasing the availability of fresh water to city residents. Without the PPP financing model, it would have been difficult to develop the highly needed project.

Compliance with UNECE People-first PPP criteria:

El Realito Aqueduct construction has led not only to greater sustainability of a natural resource as essential as water, but also improved safety conditions for the population. In addition:

  • Impacted positively on environment by promoting green economy
  • Increased fresh water availability for city residents
  • Improved ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Improved public health by reducing consumption of water with fluorides.


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This case study aspires to be People-first Public-Private Partnerships project and is published as received from the proponents.