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AUDIO: The Current on water in Mexico

Yesterday I noted that CBC Radio’s The Current website highlighted, “the draught in Northern Mexico is more than 10 years old and it coincides with major changes in the Mexican economy and agriculture, namely the North American Free Trade Agreement and attempts to privatize the country’s water supply.”

Today, the website adds that, “While life seems to be returning to normal in Mexico City in the wake of the Swine flu outbreak, officials there are still urging people to be vigilant about hygiene. But extra cleaning and hand washing is straining the water supply in a city of more than 20 million people, already struggling with a serious water shortage. Three times this spring, regulators temporarily shut down the water flow to parts of the city, all the while keeping an eye on dangerously low reservoirs. Water officials say the last scheduled shut-down was postponed because of cleanliness concerns related to the flu. This morning we continued our Watershed series, looking at the water shortage facing Mexico City, and other cities at risk of going dry. Carlos Saldana lives in a poor neighbourhood in the Iztapalapa district of Mexico City. He says water to his neighbourhood has been cut off for more than three weeks… even though the cuts were supposed to be suspended. He and his family are relying on water they have saved in a storage tank under their house. Freelancer Lara Rodriguez visited Carlos Saladana, his wife Elizabeth and their 8 year-old son Samuel in Mexico City.”

It then notes, “As Mexico City struggles through its punishing water shortage, many are looking for salvation from June’s rainy season to replenish the depleted reservoirs. But even significant rainfall won’t solve the water problems created by the city’s faltering water infrastructure. Mr. Saldana referred to pipes being repaired. Well an estimated forty per cent of the water running through the city’s pipes leaks out before it reaches its final destination. Jorge Villalón Efrén Figaredo is a director with Mexico’s National Water Commission, known by its Spanish acronym CONAGUA. We reached him at home in Mexico City.”

And then it notes, “While the water shortage is acute in the Mexican capital, there are plenty of other thirsty cities around the world, facing the threat of a persistently parched future. Piet Klop is a Senior Fellow, Markets & Enterprise Program with the World Resources Institute – an environmental think-tank. He was in our Washington studio.”

To listen to these interviews, click on ‘Listen to Part Three’ at