Updated February 26th, 2024 at 10:43 IST

One of World’s Biggest Cities Just Months Away from 'Running Out Of Water'

Trailing behind China and the United States, Mexico City has become the largest consumer of the bottled water.

Reported by: Digital Desk
A worker delivers a weekly ration of water for residents. | Image:AP

One of the world’s biggest cities is just months away to run out of water completely as residents complained that there wasn’t even enough to even fill couple of buckets due to scarcity. The sprawling Mexico City’s water crisis is nearing ‘zero day’ due to the unprecedented “low levels” of water that has reached dangerous levels.

Nearly half of the Latin American nation is grappling with drought like conditions that scientists attributed to the climate change and El Nino. In the Valley of Mexico, the three humongous dams are barely 30% full whilst the surrounding dry areas are expected to run completely out of water by August 26 if the reservoirs were not replenished, according to local reports.

A vendor pushes s bicycle cart filled with jugs of bottled water to sell to owners of street food stalls in Mexico City. (AP)

Trailing behind China and the United States, Mexico City has become the largest consumer of the bottled water as the sources of water have vanished but the consumption hasn’t cut down. An estimated 57% of the total population lacks access to the safe drinking water as the country’s government scrambled to overhaul dams and the water distribution systems to make provision of water, one of the basic amenities that supports life-forms.

A mother and a daughter arrange the containers after filling them with water on the outskirts of Mexico City. (AP)

In a scenario that the water can be transported from other states via truck deliveries, Mexico city doesn’t simply have enough storages. The hot weather has significantly worsened the woes of the  22 million population in the world’s largest metropolis. The severe water deficiencies have led to other urban problems such as the leaky and chaotic infrastructure coupled with tangles of issues such as no water to even flush the toilets.

A 30-ft-wide sinkhole opened in downtown Mexico City in August, 2017. Sinkholes and fissures that open without warning plague the city. (AP)

“Several neighbourhoods have suffered from a lack of water for weeks, and there are still four months left for the rains to start,” Christian Domínguez Sarmiento, an atmospheric scientist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) reportedly told an outlet. As the huge swathes of the city risks running dry, the politicians in Mexico City have attempted to downplay the crisis that has barrelled to a critical point.

Locals wash their clothes of the banks of the Villa Victoria reservoir. (AP)

Mexico City's 'Aqua a tu Casa' program: A beacon of hope

In 2016, the Mexico City, in an effort to better use the abundant rainwater in equitable, sustainable and innovative manner to address dearth, launched 'Aqua a tu Casa' program. It was aimed at solving the drinking water scarcity in the marginalised areas by installation of rainwater harvesting systems and the water purification technologies. The program would felicitate the 75 million litres of water in homes, apartments, and public buildings by consolidating reuse of the rainwater. But the bustling metro city, for over several years, has been struggling with low rainfall. As a result, the water crisis remains largely.

A woman fills container loaded on donkeys outside the city. (AP)

Earlier this month, the community of Acambay flooded roads approximately 80 miles (130 km) outside the Mexican capital to protest against water shortage. They stormed into the office of Mexico's National Water Commission (Conagua), violently shattering the windows and ripping shingles off roof. Scenes frequently witnessed Azcapotzalco neighborhood involved long queues of desperate people with buckets and trashcans piping water from the trucks. Some waited for several hours for their turn.

A city pipa worker delivers a weekly ration of water for residents. In some parts of the city, the government provides water rations. In other parts, residents pay for it. In both cases, waiting for water to arrive can be a full-time job. (AP)

Some residents complained that they have gone without water for a month, while others fought over limited supply, according to agencies. Situated at a high altitude, the Mexican capital that was constructed on former lake bed now relies on water pumps and reservoirs outside the city to meet its water demands. The condition is unprecedented, Rafael Carmona, director of SACMEX, reportedly lamented, sparking worries about scarcity on a global scale.


Published February 26th, 2024 at 10:43 IST