Mexico City Faces Looming Water Crisis: Residents Resort to Drastic Measures


Mexico City, one of the world’s largest urban centers, is grappling with an impending water catastrophe. This slow-motion disaster, decades in the making, has been fueled by a complex web of factors, including human-induced climate change.

Deep Concerns and Precious Drops

Residents are on edge as the water crisis looms. In a city where every drop counts, the absence of running water and prolonged drought have forced drastic adjustments. Families, especially those with limited means, now purchase water at considerable expense.

Bernardo Nonato Corona, a resident in the hills surrounding Mexico City, shared his struggle with ABC News. He allocates a staggering 25% of his income to secure water. His story echoes throughout the sprawling metropolis.

“Water is essential for everything,” Corona emphasized. “From drinking to household maintenance, personal use, and even watering plants—our reliance on it is unyielding.”

Dwindling Watershed and Groundwater Depletion

Over recent months, and perhaps years, Mexico City’s watershed has witnessed a concerning decline in rainfall. The consequences are increasingly visible. For the first time, citizens openly question whether the city will soon face a severe water shortage.

A significant portion of Mexico City’s water supply—60% to 70%—originates from aquifers and geological formations that store groundwater. Shockingly, a recent study revealed that up to 5 million Olympic-sized pools of groundwater are extracted annually.

The city now relies heavily on rain to replenish reservoirs, but groundwater levels continue to plummet. Unfortunately, the historic drought, exacerbated by human-induced climate change, no longer guarantees a robust rainy season.

Empty Reservoirs and Leaky Pipes

Enrique Lomnitz, founder of Isla Urbana, returned to Mexico City after studying in the United States. His mission: to combat the water crisis threatening his homeland. Lomnitz paints a grim picture: “Our reservoirs are essentially empty. We’re no longer receiving the steady flow we once had. Instead, it’s a mere trickle. We’re failing to recharge our aquifers while pumping an unsustainable amount of water due to our 22 million-strong population.”

Decades of underinvestment in Mexico City’s water infrastructure exacerbate the problem. Approximately 40% of water pumped through aging pipes seeps into the ground due to leaks. Even during rainstorms, billions of gallons are pumped out to prevent flooding, a resource that could theoretically be recycled.

Silent Authorities and Political Promises

Curiously, Mexico City’s water system representatives remain silent, declining to respond to ABC News inquiries.

On the political front, Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico’s president-elect and former mayor of the capital, addressed the crisis during a recent event. She acknowledged the unpredictability but emphasized the need for proactive planning. “We already know where the water will come from,” she declared, hinting at significant investments in the Valley of Mexico’s metropolitan area.

As climate change intensifies, heatwaves scorch, and droughts persist, everything hangs in the balance for residents like Corona and millions more. The race to secure Mexico City’s water future is on, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Source: ABC News