The Guardian 11/16/2015
If mastery over water is a marker of civilisation, then Mexico City is surely one of mankind’s most spectacular achievements.
Yet, from the point of view of sustainability and social equality, it is also among the more absurd failures. Discharging a resource that falls freely from the heavens and replacing it with exactly the same H2O from far away is expensive, inefficient, energy intensive and ultimately inadequate for the population’s needs. It also creates a paradox: although Mexico City has more rainy days than London, it suffers shortages more in keeping with a desert, making the price of each litre among the highest in the world – despite its often dire quality.
The growing costs – social, economic, health and environmental – are a source of stress and conflict. Government leaders and big businesses are pushing ahead with ever bigger hydro-engineering projects that upset conservationists and indigenous groups. Congress and NGOs are fighting over the possible privatisation of water. Meanwhile, shortages and floods are creating social tensions in the Federal District and its surrounding states.