Water Supply in Mexico City

Posted on January 5, 2016 • Filed under: Enviromental Issues, Mexico

Theguardian.com reported….the Aztecs built a city of floating gardens here 700 years ago that became known as “the Venice of the New World”. The vast lakes that once filled the plain were, however, steadily drained by settlers. In the 16th century, Spanish conquistadores rapidly accelerated the process, and modern engineers have almost finished the task, replacing the lacustrine marshes with a grey sea of concrete, tarmac and steel that, in the central city alone, is now home to almost nine million residents.

As a result, supplies for drinking, washing, cooking and cleaning must be pumped up from hundreds of metres underground, or from a distance of more than 100km. Getting the required billions of litres up to this megalopolis – 2,400m above sea level – is one of the world’s great feats of hydro-engineering. If mastery over water is a marker of civilisation, then Mexico City is surely one of mankind’s most spectacular achievements.

Yet, from the point of view of sustainability and social equality, it is also among the more absurd failures. Discharging a resource that falls freely from the heavens and replacing it with exactly the same H2O from far away is expensive, inefficient, energy intensive and ultimately inadequate for the population’s needs. It also creates a paradox: although Mexico City has more rainy days than London, it suffers shortages more in keeping with a desert, making the price of each litre among the highest in the world – despite its often dire quality. Read Article

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