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Governor Quinn's Trade Mission to Mexico Strengthens Illinois Water Technology Firms

Press Release

Location: Mexico City, Mexico

Governor Pat Quinn today held a meeting with key leaders to promote water technology firms from Illinois, businesses that are uniquely qualified to assist Mexico with its clean water challenges. The governor is currently on a trade mission to Mexico -- part of his agenda to drive Illinois' economy forward and create jobs.

"Illinois is striving to lead the nation and world in clean technology and environmental innovation, especially when it comes to clean water," Governor Quinn said. "There are currently more than 100 water technology companies in Illinois, and these firms are positioned to offer expertise on a global scale and sell their products and services abroad. Illinois will take full advantage of opportunities for water technology growth in Mexico while helping the neighboring nation deal with its clean water challenges."

Governor Quinn today met Mexico City Mayor Miguel Mancera, two governors and representatives of the Mexican National Water Commission (CONAGUA) to specifically discuss water treatment and how Illinois can help. One of the world's largest metropolitan areas, Mexico City faces tremendous challenges accessing clean water. These challenges include decreased groundwater, overexploitation, land subsidence, risk of major flooding, poor water quality, inefficient water use, wastewater treatment and the reuse of wastewater in agriculture. The security of the city's water supply and stormwater drainage in the metropolitan area are major concerns for all levels of government.

The Mexican market for water technologies is estimated to grow three percent during 2013. United States exports in this area are also expected to increase three percent this year. Illinois firms that can take advantage of this heightened Mexican demand include: In-Pipe Technology Company of Wood Dale, which provides engineered wastewater treatment technology and services that meet the challenges facing today's municipalities; Elan Technologies of New Lenox, an innovator in open channel flow measurement and monitoring; Grundfos of Aurora, a global leader in advanced pump solutions and a trendsetter in water technology; and Nalco of Springfield, which develops technologies that either prolong water's usability in closed systems, prepare water for reuse rather than discharge or redirect the water into an application with different requirements.

Known by its Spanish acronym, CONAGUA is the federal agency responsible for the maintenance of the country's potable and municipal wastewater infrastructure. Mexico contains a total of 2,400 municipal water utilities, 713 potable water treatment plants and 102,548 miles of pipeline to distribute potable water to urban and rural areas. CONAGUA estimates that 90 percent of the total Mexican population of 108 million has access to running water. As in most countries, the Mexican water business remains somewhat localized, but is opening up to global competition.

In response to Mexico City's water challenges, Mexico initiated a $2.8 billion Water Sustainability Program which includes water conservation as an important element. Investments envisioned under the plan include an increase in wastewater treatment, the importation of groundwater from irrigated areas north of the city, the construction of a major new stormwater drainage tunnel, increased water imports from an expansion of the energy-intensive Cutzamala system and better water allocation methods.

Last year Governor Quinn launched the $1 billion Illinois Clean Water Initiative to help local governments overhaul aging drinking water and wastewater treatment plants and pipes while creating more than 28,000 jobs. The initiative will help ensure that residents will have access to safe drinking water and that our environment will remain protected.

The Mexico trade mission is the latest by Governor Quinn as he seeks to promote Illinois to an international audience. Past missions include China and Japan in 2011, and Canada and Brazil in 2012.

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