A Longer, Dryer Lent: Mexico City Authorities Keep Taps Closed during Easter Holidays

While Pope Benedict XVI prepares to sprinkle holy water during the Easter Mass on Sunday, millions of residents in Mexico’s capital brace for dry taps during the rest of Holy Week. As dam storages hit “historic lows,” Mexico City Water System is imposing water cutbacks – a decision affecting at least five million citizens in the 20-million-people metropolitan area, the Associated Press reports.

City authorities are shutting the valves of the Cutzamala water system until Saturday to conserve water, as two of the system’s three major dams have sunk to alarmingly low levels. The pipeline, which delivers 20 percent of the city’s water, is closed off for the third time this year after an unusually dry rainy season in 2008 left the Cutzamala system at about half of its previous capacity.

But fighting water depletion is only one aspect of the struggle. Earlier this month, two researchers at the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Azcapotzalco warned that the water-distribution problems indicate an upcoming catastrophe. El Universal Online reported that according to Lilia Rodriguez Tapia and Jorge Morales Novelo, the water shortage – caused by dry weather and aggravated by old infrastructure and a growing water demand – remains one of Mexico City’s most dangerous “time bomb[s].”

Read more here, here and here.

Sources: San Jose Mercury News, SAHRA.

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