Mexico city: too many people = not enough water

From the LA Times,

One of the world’s largest cities is launching a rationing plan in a drastic — and some say overdue — effort to conserve water after rampant development, mismanagement and reduced rainfall caused supplies to drop to dangerously low levels.

The level at the main reservoir from which this urban area of nearly 20 million people gets its water for drinking and washing has dipped below 60% of capacity, Villalon said, the lowest in 16 years.

Water management is one of the most daunting chronic problems, like trash disposal and traffic flow, plaguing sprawling cities across the world. Experts say Mexico has failed to take actions needed to upgrade aqueducts, pipes and treatment plants and has allowed construction projects in areas that should be used for catching runoff and replenishing aquifers.

Polanco is a typical example of a district where a building boom has stretched municipal resources despite its wealth.

“Water is getting more and more complicated with all the people arriving,” Gallardo, 30, said. “For a while now, the situation has been that water pressure is good at night, but in the day it gets very low.”

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