Drought in Yucatán will cause water pollution
Paul Antoine Matos.
The Mayan Journey, Merida, Yucatan, Tuesday, May 15, 2017.
Due to factors such as climate change and deforestation, drought seasons in recent years have seen high temperatures in Mexico, if drought continues to be damaged by water pollution from sodium and chlorine, the most worrisome of this increase in temperature is the reduction of rainfall, which will reduce the recharge of the aquifer and threatens to destabilize the water in the subsoil, which would affect the productive and social sectors of Yucatan. With droughts or rising sea levels, the salt water exerts more pressure on the already reduced freshwater lens and enters this layer, which causes a greater salinization of the water table and breaks the equilibrium in the aquifer.
Industry, tourism and the countryside will be affected by the contamination of sodium and chlorine in the water if droughts increase in the coming years, warned the secretary of Urban Development and Environment (Seduma), Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, the state official stated , In an interview that due to factors such as climate change and deforestation, drought seasons in recent years have seen high temperatures, even in April 2016; This year, there was more than 15 days with heat higher than 40 degrees.
He said that one of the most worrying things about this increase in temperature is the reduction of rainfall, which will reduce the recharge of the aquifer and threaten to destabilize the water in the subsoil, which would affect the productive and social sectors of Yucatan, explained that the most serious damage caused by drought in the aquifer will be the increase of the salt interface, that is to say the layer in which fresh water and salt in the subsoil are joined. This rupture of the water balance is known as reversal of the hydraulic gradient.
Two years ago, La Jornada Maya interviewed Ismael Mariño Tapia, PhD in marine sciences from the University of Plymouth and a member of the Center for Research and Advanced Studies Unit Mérida (Cinvestav), on that occasion, the scientist explained that If the freshwater lens is reduced by excessive extraction, this can be combined with natural phenomena and lead to increased pollution, because if there are droughts or rising sea level, salt water exerts more pressure on the freshwater lens – Already reduced – and enters this layer, reason why it causes greater salinization of the mantle and it breaks the balance.
Batllori Sampedro indicated that in a year in Yucatan rains on average between 900 and 1000 millimeters. What infiltrates the subsoil is 15 percent of the rain, that is to say about 150 millimeters. The ratio of the increase in the saline interface is from 1 to 40, so if the rainfall in the aquifer is reduced by 10 centimeters (100 millimeters), the interface will grow by four meters, which makes it vulnerable to the sectors Productive state, he said. He warned that if happens the water to stop being potable, then it will affect crops and other elements of the entity. In addition to surface contamination by agrochemicals, water would also be affected by chlorine and sodium, resulting from the reversal of the hydraulic gradient.
Mariño Tapia indicated that if this happens “the water that is used to drink will have to be treated to remove the salt”, referring to the use of the water resource that Cervecería Yucateca, beer producing plant of Grupo Modelo in the municipality of Hunucma.
The head of Seduma indicated that among the actions to work is to reduce the damage are controlling the water withdrawals, as well as reuse the treated. That, he said, can also be done from the house, where gray water is used for pots and watering.
Other effects of drought, added Batllori Sampedro, are the loss of soils, because they are formed from vegetation and leaves, that are deforested. The forest will be more deciduous, so more cactaceous and similar species will predominate, with spines that control transpiration. In the case of Mérida, he acknowledged that deforestation causes trees to be lost, and a thermal sensation of almost 50 degrees is reached.