Business & Economy

Mexicans turn to rain capture amid water shortages

By Miquel Muñoz

Mexico City, Mar 22 (efe-epa).- The 2021 observance of World Water Day on Monday finds nearly 12 million Mexicans living without access to that essential resource, a situation that is spurring efforts to develop a reliable system for capturing and harvesting rain.

“It’s going to help a lot. Because now we will be able to bathe well, to wash clothes and things like that. There are things that you don’t do all the time due to the question of water,” Liliana Jimenez tells Efe while installing a rain-catcher on the roof of her Mexico City home.

The area where her family lives, in the foothills on the capital’s south side, is not connected to the municipal water system.

Liliana and her neighbors are among the 1.8 million Mexico City residents – according to the group Agua Capital (Capital Water) – who rely on tanker trucks to deliver water.

“Now the pipas (as the water trucks are known) take a very long time, up to two weeks to arrive after they are requested,” Jimenez says.

Southeastern Mexico, which has abundant rainfall, also suffers from water shortages because of a lack of infrastructure to accumulate the liquid and distribute it to homes.

Before installing the rain-catcher on her roof, Jimenez underwent instruction from Isla Urbana, Agua Capital’s partner in the project.

“This family will be able to capture 1,500 liters (396 gallons) every time it rains. We calculate that with a good rain this system fills up completely,” Isla Urbana spokesman Carlos Ignacio Reyes says.

“In the rainy season they can subsist on rainwater with the necessity of requesting trucks,” he adds.

The equipment is being provided free of charge to 100 households in poor neighborhoods of Mexico City. Normally, the system sells for roughly 20,000 pesos ($975), a steep price in a country where the minimum wage amounts to 141.70 pesos ($6.90) a day.

Rain collects on the roof and is channeled to a filter that eliminates the most polluted portion, Reyes says.

“We have to maintain the roofs cleared, clean, so the running water falls into a filter. The first minutes of the rain fall there. It (the filter) captures the water that is dirty and passes to the container, where the clear water is,” Liliana explains.

In a year when precipitation is at or above normal, “a family can easily live at least five months with just rainwater capture,” Reyes says.

“Often it’s not enough, but it’s very good at the moment,” Liliana Jimenez says with a smile. EFE


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