Mexico City struggles to provide public with clean water

Latin America

Every major country faces the challenge of providing safe, drinkable water to its cities. This struggle is greatly magnified in Mexico, home to one of the world’s most vast megacities.

CGTN’s Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

Mexico City struggles to provide public with clean water

Every major country faces the challenge of providing safe, drinkable water to its cities. This struggle is greatly magnified in Mexico, home to one of the world's most vast megacities. CGTN's Franc Contreras reports from Mexico City.

There are more than 20 million residents in the metropolitan area of Mexico.

Demand is among the highest anywhere on the planet; however, out-dated water distribution pipes cannot kept up with the city’s growth. Thousands of residents in neighborhoods across the Mexican capital get their water supply once a week from tanker trucks.

City officials have said that each day, eroded old pipes cause an average of up to 60 major leaks. Mexico City loses 12,000 liters of water every second of every single day. Billions of liters are pumped uphill from distances of more than 100 kilometers because of Mexico City’s high altitude.

According to the city government, guaranteeing that the water supply continues to flow will require a massive investment of $350 million a year, every year, for the next 40 years.

“In all of Latin America, Mexico City is the urban zone with the greatest amount of stress on its water systems. No European city faces this amount of pressure over water. It’s only comparable to arid zones in the Middle East and east Africa,” Ramon Aguirre Diaz, Mexico City Water System’s Director said.

Heavy rains replenish waterways in the south of the city, but they are increasingly polluted. Meanwhile, underground aquifers are rapidly being used up.

Mexico City is creating plans to finance long-term improvements in hopes of preventing the pressure on the megalopolis’s waters systems from reaching a breaking point.