Mexico City could run out of water within a month if it doesn’t rain

Experts say Mexico City could run out of drinking water until the end of June, an event locals call “Day Zero.”

Mexico City has long struggled to bring water to its millions of residents, but three consecutive years of low rainfall and high temperatures have created a serious emergency.

The Cutzamala water system, a series of treatment plants, reservoirs and canals that provide water to tens of millions of people, is drying up.

Conditions are so bad that the North American Drought Monitor classified the federal district containing Mexico City as “severe” on April 30. Locals expect “Day Zero” to arrive on June 26, according to Mexico Business News.

While local politicians downplayed the water crisis for months, some neighborhoods have already seen their water run out, CNN reported.

The Mexican government describes the Cutzamala system as “vital to the lives of millions of Mexicans” living in the Metropolitan Area of ​​Mexico and the Valley of the Metropolitan Area of ​​Toluca.

The system normally moves about 15 cubic meters of water per second and provides service to about 22 million people. It is now operating at 28% capacity, The Washington Post reported.

Crumbling infrastructure is also contributing to the problem. About 40% of Mexico City’s water is lost to leaking pipes and other problems, the Post reported.

Gabriel Quadri de la Torre, a federal congressman for Mexico City’s Coyoacn district, told the newspaper that fixing the pipes would cost billions and that it is “very difficult to think” that the city will have the money to pay for it.

With June 26 fast approaching, the city is in desperate need of rain. But the rain could cause a “false sense of security,” Christina Boyes, a professor at the Center for Economic Research and Teaching in Mexico City, told the Post.

Researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico said in a study that intensive water capture, using residual treated water for agriculture and recharging aquifers with surface water could save the Cutzmala system, according to Mexico Business News.

The study found that only 75% of farms in the area use irrigation water and most do not reuse water when they can. However, the study plan would cost about $5 billion, the report says.

Mexico’s National Water Commission announced in February that it is working on projects to improve the Cutzamala system and help replenish some of the water that is being lost. As part of the action, the Mexico City Water System presented a plan to improve infrastructure reliability, strengthen programs for the participation of private companies in the water network and collect rainwater in schools, the agency said.

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