It is imperative to take action today to ensure that we have water tomorrow.
1. Communities without water
More than 10 million Mexicans do not have access to water services. In Mexico City alone, at least 250,000 people live without connection to the water network and millions more have an intermittent service or receive contaminated water.
A rainwater harvesting system can capture a large quantity of water and supply a family with water for 5 to 12 months per year. With good design, the water can be used for all household uses, even to drink!
Every time Mexico City experiences heavy rainfall, the drains are flooded with enormous amounts of rainwater.
By harvesting the rain, we could fill cisterns with clean water instead of contaminating and saturating the drainage system!
3. Sinking of the city
In Mexico City, 70% of the water that we use comes from aquifers directly underneath the city. The extraction of this water has been so extreme that the city has sunk more than 10 metres (32 feet) in the last 100 years!
By harvesting the rain that falls on our roofs, we could reduce the amount of water we have to pump out of the aquifers, slowing—and perhaps eventually stopping—the sinking of the city.
4. Decline of the Aquifers
Mexico City is ranked third on the list of major world cities facing extreme water stress. This is because we extract more water from the aquifers and rivers than is naturally recharged. If we maintain this trend, our sources will cease to exist in the not too distant future.
If the city’s roofs and buildings capture rainwater instead of letting it drain, we could extract less water from the aquifers during the rainy season and give the aquifers time to naturally recharge. We need to balance our water sources to ensure that the aquifer can give water during the dry season.
5. Cost of Energy and Resources
30% of the water supplied to Mexico City’s network comes from the Lerma-Cutzamala system. This water is pumped from 150 kilometers (93 miles) away and vertically over mountains for 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from sources outside the Valley of Mexico.
The energy required to pump all this water is equivalent to the total electricity consumption of the city of Puebla, which contains over 1.5 million inhabitants!
In zones with supply shortages, capturing rainwater becomes hugely important, reducing the need to pay for thousands of pipas (water trucks) each year and saving large amounts of energy, money, and resources for families and the authorities responsible for the supply.
6. Rainwater harvesting: Changing paradigms to manage water
“It is inconceivable that here, we are drowning in rain and flooding, yet at the same time we are going without water to drink.”
José Luis Luege Tamargo, Ex Director CONAGUA (2006-2012).
We are working to promote the uptake of rainwater harvesting while learning how to do it in the most effective way possible. We seek to develop to the point where rainwater harvesting is incorporated effectively into Mexico City’s water infrastructure.