The architects Arturo y Jorge Arditti participated next via Skype, providing a global vision of the situation in Mexico, their country, where water management is full of controversial contrasts, mainly due to a poor distribution of the population and an inefficient management of the water resources. Arturo pointed out: "Although we are moving ahead at a staggering speed, there is still uncertainty, management is complex and generally discouraging, as it is not the role of the real estate developer to solve any problems related to the water supply… A trust should be set up that would provide transparency to these situations so that the public and private sectors may jointly develop ideas."
As for Jorge, he insisted on the key role played by education: "Education is essential. We as architects need to get an education and educate developers and our clients and certainly all students. Our goal is to provide “zero discharge” to drainage, using 100% of water. We would need to create a certification for buildings related to the use of water.”
Carmen Sarmiento, Sustainable Development Manager at OHL Desarrollos, participated right after. This development company has created the project Ciudad Mayakoba, which has been awarded various sustainability prizes for its innovative nature in the respect for the environment. The project required a detailed hydrological, geological and ecological study in order to build while respecting the mangrove area in that region: "It was complicated as it meant moving the homes 500 m. away from the beach and this is not attractive from the tourist point of view. We ended up removing the vegetation from the building sites and taking it to a nursery so that the plants could later be replanted, thus avoiding the interference of non-native species. In this way we were able to reduce the irrigation costs to the minimum. Irrigation is carried out with water obtained from the desalination process instead of using fresh water; even the golf course uses this salty water.”
Sarmiento claimed that the clients of Ciudad Mayakoba value the sustainable philosophy of the dwelling greatly, even participating actively in the good environmental practices promoted by the developer of the tourist complex. These same conclusions were detailed by Fernando Fernández, Development Vice President for Apple Leisure Group, who explained how the hotel guests participate in activities such as the cleaning up of beaches, even those outside the resorts of the U.S. promoter, a specialist in Caribbean and Mexican destinations: "Sustainability is a key value in our facilities, we are very aware of the environmental impact and our clients in the U.S. are very conscious as well: they demand certifications and are concerned about the programmes of environmental care. We involve our guests in the protection of the fauna and flora and above all, in the good use of water; and their response is overwhelming. This is without a doubt an up and coming value.”
Miguel Angel García, Director of the Equity and Expansion Area for Iberdrola Inmobiliaria, reflected this philosophy when explaining the ambitious project of Laguna del Mar at Puerto Peñasco right in the middle of the Sonora desert (Mexico): "We created our own ecosystem in one of the hottest deserts in the world.” By means of a system that retains the water from the tide, they were able to create permanent saltwater lagoons. This water, after being desalinated, feeds the entire tourist complex. "There was no fauna”, García commented, “and now there are pelicans and fishes; and we have taken a step further by turning these lagoons, which were initially private, into public property. All this was unthinkable 10 years ago.” The representative of Iberdrola Inmobiliaria highlighted that from the very start of the project the company promoted and achieved the dialogue and coordination with all institutions and administrations, thus corroborating the words from Albert Solé: "It is true that the water problem is mainly a problem of governance and this is a good example of dialogue between institutions. And it is convenient to understand that the fact that a company earns money is not negative, as it can be applied to regenerate the environment no one took care of, such as the one at Puerto Peñasco. In Europe, and especially in Spain, this culture is not very popular, but I think this should change.”