Mexican water crisis worsens with climate change

Luis Britez
Staff Writer

Slide 1

MEXICO CITY, Mexico is experiencing the disastrous effects of climate change. The droughts and flooding of the city have caused contamination of the water supply and have also resulted in a limited amount of available water.

The fluctuation of warm and cold temperatures may seem to be a minor inconvenience for many at most, but for the citizens of Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, this is proving to be foreboding for the future of their city and their water supply.

For many years, the citizens of Mexico City have been seeing a dramatic increase in their need for clean water, with the demand surpassing the supply that the city can offer. This is the result of the dramatic effects of climate change that is resulting in severe droughts and floods that are causing catastrophe to the foundation of the city and the evaporation of vital reservoirs and underground aquifers.

The capital of Mexico is located a mile and a half above sea level. At the end of the 1800’s, the Mexicans constructed a canal called the Great Canal that was supposed to solve the flooding and sewage problems that were plaguing Mexico at the time.

However, gravity and the constant drilling of the ancient clay lake beds set by the Aztecs are causing the canal and Mexico City to collapse on itself. The city, built on a mix of clay and volcanic soil, is sunk unevenly from the rising temperatures that are draining the water contained within the sheets of the clay, resulting in cracks and the base sinking.

Monuments and historic centers, such as the National Palace, have sunk and dispositioned drastically. Coupling that problem is the lack of fresh water for the poorer people of Mexico.

Many now face the issue of dealing with contaminated tap water, which has brought upon illnesses and rashes to the citizens consuming it. This prevalent cause has forced the Mexican government to instill a water system that consists of trucks delivering drinking water to these residents that can otherwise not access this necessity.

These large trucks, called “pipas,” have pipes and hoses attached to it that are dropped 1,000 feet down to reach an aquifer, which is a body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.

With the water drained from the aquifer, this water is delivered to residents who have to wait anywhere from three to 30 days to obtain it. Other times, residents line up at pipas, where often there is conflict in obtaining the very limited amount of water. More so, there are some areas that pipas can’t reach.

One resident has to travel two hours back and forth to the nearest pipa, carrying 90 pounds of water on each return trip. Even with the 100 gallons of water received, it does not last even a week.

With the federal government focusing on plans to construct a new airport and focusing on its own agenda with infrastructure, this leaves some Mexicans without sufficient aid.

According to one study, 10 percent of Mexicans ages 15 to 65 are predicted to emigrate up north due to the problems surrounding the federal government, the city and their current situations.