The Stream, September 14, 2021: Could Rainwater Harvesting Solve Water Scarcity in Mexico City?


  • Sustainable urban planning may solve Mexico City’s water woes.
  • Environmental activists in Benton Harbor, Michigan, are urging the EPA to replace thousands of lead service lines throughout the city.
  • Lebanon’s water crisis is worsening as its economy crumbles.

Lawyers with a conservation group filed a complaint with the UK’s environmental watchdog say the country is failing to stop water companies from discharging raw sewage into rivers.

“The law is clear and has been since 1991. What is missing is the strength of will within government to get this sorted.” – Guy Linley-Adams, a solicitor for Salmon and Trout Conservation. Lawyers with Salmon and Trout Conservation lodged a complaint with the post-Brexit environmental watchdog in the United Kingdom, accusing the government and Ofwat of failing to enforce the law to stop water companies from discharging raw sewage into rivers. According to Environmental Agency data, water companies discharged raw sewage into coastal waters in England more than 400,000 times in 2020, The Guardian reports.


In Case You Missed It:  

HotSpots H2O: ‘Global Indigenous Agenda’ Calls for Water, Land, and Resource Governance at 2021 IUCN World Conference — Indigenous activists and organizations from around the world met virtually this week for the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Zoom-based World Conservation Congress.

What’s Up With Water — September 13, 2021 — This week’s episode covers regulators in the UK who have temporarily given water utilities permission to treat wastewater to a lower standard, a government program to bring running water to more high-poverty areas in India, and an unprecedented joint statement from over 200 medical journals warning that the largest threat to global public health is climate change.

Sustainable Urban Planning Could Help Solve Mexico City’s Water Scarcity Problem

As Mexico City’s water supply is drained from an underground aquifer, the city is sinking rapidly at 20 inches per year, according to Latin America Reports. Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), or an urban development approach aimed at minimizing the impacts of urban development on the environment, poses one solution to the city’s water woes. Loreta Castro Reguera, a WSUD expert and architect, told Latin America Reports that decentralizing water access through projects like building water filtration systems and utilizing open spaces to catch and save rainwater could help lessen the impact of the city’s water scarcity issues.



Environmental activists and residents in Benton Harbor, Michigan, are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency to remove around 6,000 lead service lines throughout the community of only about 9,700 people. In an online press event, Cyndi Roper, a senior policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that lead levels in Benton Harbor are as high as levels during “the early days of the Flint water crisis.” The EPA said the agency has received the petition and is considering the concerns raised, E&E News reports.


As Lebanon’s economy continues to crumble, the nation’s water crisis continues to worsen. The National News reports that in some towns in the mountains north of Beirut, residents are only receiving a few hours of water every few days. According to estimates from Unicef, around 2.4 million people – or a little under half of the total population – are experiencing water shortages.

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