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Donkeys deliver water in Mexico City. Donkeys deliver water in Mexico City.

50 years later, donkeys continue delivering water in Mexico City villages

But there are fewer donkeys than before as water service has been extended

Thirty years ago, Aureliana started delivering water by donkey to hard-to-reach areas in the Mexico City borough of Xochimilco. Today, she carries on doing the same work, taking water to families that still do not have municipal or other water sources.

One such area is Acalpixca, one of the 14 original towns that make up Xochimilco, and still lacks water service.

“Before there were many donkeys. We had 10 or 15 animals, but now they have exchanged donkeys for cars because trucks can get to most places. Or they pay for water trucks and do not need donkeys anymore.”

“This delivery method has been in use for about 50 years. It began in Barrio de las Cruces, which was one of the first populated neighborhoods, and people delivered by donkey because there was no other way to get water,” said Abel Martínez, a local journalist.

Initially, many people worked in water delivery because the area had no public water service. Donkeys abounded to such a degree that the neighborhood was nicknamed “Donkey Town.” As public services grew and improved, fewer and fewer people dedicated themselves to delivering water. Now, customers are limited to roughly 200 families, who buy water due to lack of services or drought.

Eulalia, another delivery worker who still uses donkeys, said that many of her peers have sold their donkeys to buy cars as the roads have improved. But Eulalia carries on with her donkeys.
Donkeys are often loaded with four 20-liter containers. The animals and the delivery people have to travel approximately four kilometers from the water source to reach their remaining clients.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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