Mexico City Area Wastes 46 Percent of its Drinking Water
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Mexico City Area Wastes 46 Percent of its Drinking Water

Photo by:   Daan Mooij
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Fernando Mares By Fernando Mares | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Wed, 06/15/2022 - 14:09

Water shortages are becoming a constant problem in Mexico, as local governments launch programs to reduce its use and improve its supply. Nevertheless, these efforts may not be sufficient due to the lack of adequate water infrastructure. Experts are worried that Mexico City and the State of Mexico could face a same situation as Nuevo Leon’s water crisis, since the capital wastes 46 percent of its drinking water.

The Valley of Mexico is home to over 21 million people, with many continuously facing water shortages or poor-quality water. The growing population, changes in the water cycle and a lack of planning in infrastructure projects are deteriorating the water distribution system. 

According to Fernando Fragoso, Operative Works Coordinator, Water Resources, Drinking Water and Sanitation Commission, the losses are a consequence of poor water infrastructure, which causes leaks and other issues that might drive the Metropolitan Area to a “spreading water crisis.” He foresees more frequent water shortages coming from the Cutzamala System. “We do not want the State of Mexico to reach critical water scarcity like in Monterrey, this is why we are warning municipal governments to work on local water infrastructure,” added Fragoso. Therefore, the issue should be addressed as soon as possible, as water infrastructure must be a priority during the following budget discussions. 

The National Water Commission (CONAGUA) reported that the State of Mexico currently loses more than 40 percent of its water supply due to a lack of maintenance to its obsolete infrastructure, which has operated for over than 50 years already. Of the 63m³ of water that flows to the municipalities, 21.5m³ is wasted. 

According to CONAGUA, over 293L/s was recovered after repairing 50 leaks in Naucalpan, Coacalco, Huixquilucan, Tultitlan, cuatitlan Izcalli, Ecatepec, Atizapan, Toluca and Tlalnepantla. 

In 2017, Ramón Aguirre, Former Director, Mexico City’s Water System (SACMEX), said that both the drainage and water supply infrastructure have gone past their useful life, as at least 30 percent of the system should be upgraded. In 2022, local authorities announced an investment of over US$135 million in drinking water and drainage projects. 

In 2021, Greenpeace reported that a lack of transparency in the local water management offices contributes to the issue. The organization highlights the cost overruns of up to 40 percent in infrastructure projects, the lack of public databases and near-constant water theft as the main problems to address.

Photo by:   Daan Mooij

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