Water a precious resource in Mexico

In Tehuixtitla, a mountainous area south of Mexico City, there is no running water. Salinas is used to this drudgery.

“If you do not go to the water, the water is not going to come to you,” she said, taking a break to wipe sweat from her forehead.

Today in Mexico, Latin America’s second largest economy, 10.5 million people — 9.1 percent of its 118 million people — have no direct access to drinking water, according to government figures.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said recently that 35 million Mexicans have limited access in terms of quantity and quality. He said resolving this basic problem was a “national priority.”

Just like Delfina, Lourdes Torres, a 39-year-old homemaker and mother of three, waits her turn with two donkeys to load 160 liters (quarts) of water in some 30 jugs.

Back home they will be used for showers every three days, cleaning and watering plants. “Yes, it is a pity to have to do this, especially when you know there are people who have running water and we are struggling here,” said Torres.

In the overpopulated valley where Mexico City lies, hydrological problems are accentuated by the overuse of water supplies during the Spanish colonial era to build the city.

There is only one small river, and 73% of the city’s water comes from underground. Overuse threatens to deplete this resource within 150 years and means the city is sinking a centimeter per year. The rest of the water that feeds the city comes from reservoirs 200 kms away.

But the system uses a lot of electricity and leaks 40 percent of its water, says David Vargas, from NGO Urban Island, which has developed a system to catch rain water for use in homes. The rainy season only lasts from May to September, and water is so scarce that one in three homes in Mexico City endures rationing.

Full article: Water a precious resource in Mexico (Saudi Gazette)

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