Water Shortages Bound to Hit Mexico CityBy Pedro Alcalá | Tue, 02/23/2021 - 12:31
While Texas citizens struggle for water after an unexpected cold front damaged basic infrastructure, Mexico is hit by droughts that have affected its most populous regions. La Jornada reported that CONAGUA was looking for authorization to reduce water supply to the Cutzamala system in March. This system serves Mexico City and certain municipalities in the State of Mexico. The area that receives resources from Cutzamala represents the highest concentration and density of urban water consumers in the country. This area also has the highest concentration and density of hospitals and COVID-19 patients. Cutting off water supply during the pandemic would represent a significant increase in contagions and general health risks, MBN reported at the beginning of lockdowns last year.
CONAGUAS´s Valley of Mexico Water Basins Director Víctor Bourguett went over the condition of the system that led to this petition: 25 percent of the basins and dams that feed the Cutzamala system currently report conditions of extreme drought, while the remaining 75 percent report conditions of moderate drought. Rainfall during 2021 has so far presented a deficit of 21.2 percent. The system is also operating at 55.3 percent of its capacity, which is 21.7 percent less than its historical average of 77 percent. 2009 was the last year that the system reported these conditions, reported la Jornada.
CONAGUA got authorization to reduce water supply. The next day, Chilango and a number of other media outlets published that the shortages would be a reality but that the dates were yet to be defined. Bourguett also reminded the media that he had warned back in January that 2021 would see three significant interruptions to Cutzamala’s service, a warning which was reported by Milenio at the time. Strategic interruptions in service will not solve a larger problem with the Cutzamala system and with Mexico’s water infrastructure: the currently installed distribution arrangement does not guarantee equal supply. The news coincides with protests that have happened in certain neighborhoods in Mexico City, such as Tlahuac, where according to Milenio residents are complaining about ongoing shortages and interruptions to the service for the last few months. These water problems show that water infrastructure development remains a significant area of opportunity for the Mexican government at the local, state and federal levels, as reported by BNAmericas.