Water Shortages Leave Iztapalapa Powerless Against COVID-19By MBN Staff | Mon, 04/27/2020 - 12:47
Amid the crisis unleashed by COVID-19, some people are also facing another problem: water shortages. Without access to clean water, keeping hands and surfaces washed is a challenge that puts hundreds at risk.
"With water shortages, they are saying wash your hands. But how?” said in an interview with Reuters Erika Casasola, a resident of a neighborhood in Iztapalapa. Deputy Minister of Health, Hugo López-Gatell reported yesterday that the number of infected in the country increased to14,677, while the death toll rose to 1,351.
Shortage of water in the Iztapalapa municipality, the most populated and the largest in Mexico City, is nothing new. According to local government spokeswoman Clara Brugada, it is a historical problem that the administration is trying to solve at the moment by providing free water by truck.
According to the Urban Services Directorate of the Iztapalapa municipality, covering the drinking water needs of all its inhabitants requires a supply of 7,150 liters per second. However, measurements indicate that there is only a supply of 4,621 liters per second, which means a 35 percent deficit. Meanwhile, according to an investigation from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (UAM), the shortage Iztapalapa has faced for years is because it is located far from the main source of supply for the city, the Cutzamala system. After water crosses the city and reaches the most remote areas of the municipality, it has very little pressure.
As of 2017, Mexico had the highest per capita consumption of bottled water in the world, at 480 liters a year, according to a UN report. “(That) is eloquent evidence of the distrust of the Mexican population in the water supplied to them,” the report said. That same year, the National Household Survey (ENH) conducted by INEGI said that in Mexico City, only 79 percent of households have a daily water supply, while 11 percent of homes receive water two or fewer times a week.
Iztapalapa has suffered two major water crises in the past two years. The first, as a result of the earthquake of September 19, 2017, and the second due to the mega-cut of water in October and November 2018. Now, the city hall is facing another crisis: the emergency unleashed by COVID-19. That could lead to serious consequences for the health of inhabitants by not having access to clean water.