Water: drinkability, availability and use in Mexico.

Water: drinkability, availability and use in Mexico.

Simón Vargas Aguilar. Opinion, 06.10.2016, Mexico.

The availability of water in sufficient quantity and condition, has a direct impact on the quality of life and social development in Mexico. The agricultural sector occupies 76.7% of usable water, industry and thermoelectric use 4.2% and 4.9% respectively. Currently the annual / inhabitant average reaches 5,000 cubic meters of water. 94.6% of private dwellings have piped water service and 92.8% have sewer service. 27.6% of waste waters collected in urban centers is treated. Mexico ranks seventh in the world of surface irrigation infrastructure.

From 1990 to 2015 access to drinking water rose from 76% to 91% worldwide, however, the UN / UNICEF estimates that at least 1.8 billion people around the world still ingest water contaminated with fecal matter. Water sanitation represents security for the population, is vital to the eradication of hunger and poverty element, improving health, infectious disease prevention and well-being of societies and their biodiversity. The availability and quality of water is related to the social, economic viability, political and health indices of a country. The international average water availability per capita should be 1700 cubic meters a year.

Currently in our country, the annual average reaches 5,000 cubic meters per capita. 94.6% of private dwellings have piped water service and 92.8% have service of drainage, this according to data provided by INEGI. By 2015 31 million 374 thousand 724 were counted Mexican households, of which 29 million 48 thousand 251 have water supply.

With respect to piped water, the states with lower availability are Oaxaca (85.5%), Guerrero (84.6%), Chiapas (87.2%), Veracruz (86.8%) and Puebla (93.0%); on the other hand, those who have greater access to drinking water are Aguascalientes (99.1%), Colima (98.8%), Mexico City (98.6%), Nuevo Leon (98.3%) and Jalisco (98.1%). http://bit.ly/2e3zd5k

The dotation of water resources is independent of its distribution, of those 29 million households in Mexico only 21.2 million are supplied with water daily; Meanwhile, 4.4 million receive every third day, 1.6 million households get it twice a week, 1.0 million have water once a week, and the remaining population is that it gets directly from the rain. In addition, the Water Advisory Council reports that 30 to 50% of the water that caters to families is wasted due to leaks in networks and addresses. http://bit.ly/2cTc1q9

To meet the growing demand for water services, wastewater from urban and rural settlements, collected through sewerage advantage, and of direct discharges of industries. 27.6% of waste waters collected in urban centers is treated. To do this, in the country they operate 2337 wastewater treatment plants, which reduces the stress on reuse water first use and meets the needs of water that do not require potable quality. While residential use accounts for only 14.2% of total water use. The agricultural sector occupies 76.7% of usable water, industry and thermoelectric use 4.2% and 4.9% respectively. http://bit.ly/2dyh0Kw Water consumption is reduced a person generally requires four liters a day, but for to produce food is needed 5,000 liters of water.

FAO estimates that in the next thirty years the extraction of water for agriculture will increase 14% just to meet the demand for food production. http://bit.ly/2dtr7nX
This figure becomes worrisome if we consider that, globally, the total groundwater being extracted, 43% is for agricultural irrigation.

Therefore, improvements have been implemented in management and irrigation practices, which has lessened the impact of food production, both agricultural and livestock products. In 2007, the surface effectively of irrigation infrastructure was estimated at 5.44 million hectares. Today, Mexico ranks seventh in the world of surface irrigation infrastructure after India, China, United States of America, Pakistan, Islamic Republic of Iran and Indonesia. Thanks to the climatological diversity that has Mexico, this river has abundant wealth. Mexico annually receives approximately 1 million 449 thousand 471 cubic meters of water as precipitation.

Rivers and streams constitute a hydrographic network of 633,000 kilometers long, through which flows 87% of the runoff of the country and whose basins cover 65% of the continental land area of the country. On its surface include the basins of the Grande and Balsas rivers, and highlights the Bravo length and Grijalva-Usumacinta rivers. The waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and Bravo are shared between Mexico and the United States of America as indicated in the “Water Treaty” signed in Washington, D.C. on 3 February 1944. Taking into account outflows and water inlet with neighboring countries, the country has 447,000 annually 260 million cubic meters of renewable fresh water.

However, it should pay special attention to the use given to the aquifers, currently 102 of the 653 who are in the country are overexploited, which implies a serious environmental, social and financial damage. Another factor to consider is climate change, in recent years both drought and heavy rainfall, coupled with factors such as topography, land use and the state of vegetation cover, they have caused damages to society and economic activities. Mexico has a policy of water sustainability, and since the early twentieth century invested in artificial reservoirs, irrigation districts, aqueducts and water supply systems; similarly, is innovated in wastewater treatment, reuse and efficient resource management.


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