Our evolution

Year 2009

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In 2009, Isla Urbana installed their first rainwater harvesting system in the house of Mrs Clara Gaytan. Filled with enthusiasm by the impact of this system, our small team went to live in the colonia Cultura Maya in the Ajusco and the project was founded formally. Our co-founder and teacher Carlos Moscoso, died in December.

The first rainwater harvesting system installed by Isla Urbana continues to operate, providing the family clean water for more than 8 months of the year.

Enrique and Carlos at one of the first installations.


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In 2010 we started our first large-scale project in collaboration with the Tlalpan delegation. We participated in the BBC World Challenge and started to work with the Wixárika people (Ha Ta Tukari Project) in the mountains of Jalisco in collaboration with Concentrarte AC.

Part of the team of Ha Ta Tukari (Agua Nuestra Vida) in Cebolleta, Jalisco.


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In 2011, we continued to work in the Ajusco and in the mountains with the Huichol (Wixárika). This year, we also participated in the programme: Intiative México and started design on the Tlaloque (First-Flush), enabling us to capture the rainfall in a more effective and practical way.

Prototype of the first Tlaloque (First-Flush) made of fiberglass.


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In 2012, with support from HSBC’s Corporate Sustainability, we extended the scope of our work to Xochimilco and started to produce the first Tlaloques.

We did systematic follow-up studies in collaboration with IRRI México and Engineers Without Borders UK to understand how to maximize the adoption of systems. Isla Urbana enters the network of entrepreneurs from Ashoka.

One of the first installations of a Tlaloque in Cultura Maya, Tlalpan. Here, we filmed the video for the maintenance manual.


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In 2013, the project was devoted to making improvements to the systems and deployment models in communities.

We continued the installations in Tlalpan and Xochimilco, and started to work in the Mazateca mountains. Isla Urbana was recognised by MIT Technology Review as one of the 35 most innovative projects in the world, led by young people.

We began to look more widely for ways to include environmental education workshops into our community projects.

The educational work was realised in collaboration with Concentrarte. Picture: Analí Cervantes.


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In 2014, we carried out a project with SEMARNAT in the State of Hidalgo that included 106 catchment systems, filters for greywater systems, and a program of intensive collaboration and focus on community work with various artists.

We followed up with our installed systems and found they were doing extremely well. This year, we worked with one of the first communities, the Wixarika, and installed rainwater systems in all of the houses. Toward the end of the year, we had successfully installed 2.000 systems.

Project financed by by SEMARNAT in the state of Hidalgo, working in collaboration with  Concentrarte and Zekuollaz. Picture: Camaroni Producciones

In Cebolleta, Jalisco, all of the houses now have a rainwater harvesting system. Foto: Cate Cameron.


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This year we started to collaborate with SECITI-DF to extend and enhance the projects in the Ajusco, Xochimilco and Milpa Alta. We installed 150 systems in rural homes near Malinalco, and 50 in the city of Oaxaca. Both projects and community work were carried out with Concentrarte and Artolution.

We are continuing the close monitoring of our system installations, artwork and workshops in the communities.

We have installed more than 1500 systems in Mexico City.

Our Record (In Spanish)

Isla Urbana from the beginning

A publication of Miguel Mendez Diaz, Director of Documentales Universitarios.