Monday, June 24, 2024

In CDMX’s water shortage, Polanco residents say addresses matter

Residents of Mexico City’s exclusive Polanco neighborhood are relying on both private and public services to meet high demand due to frequent water shortages that are affecting various capital neighborhoods.

And some residents are saying that their neighborhood’s reputation is unfairly upping the prices they pay for water from private vendors. 

Authorities have blamed water shortages on the low levels at the Cutzamala reservoir system which feeds the capital (Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar/Cuartoscuro)

According to the newspaper Reforma, a 10,000-liter pipa delivery typically costs Mexico City residents around 1,400 pesos (US $77). In Polanco however, the same delivery can cost up to 3,600 pesos (US $198). 

“As soon as they ask you what area [the service] is for, when you say, ‘Miguel Hidalgo, in Polanco,’ they charge you 2,800 or 3,200 [pesos]. In Iztapalapa [a working-class neighborhood in the south of the capital], they might only charge you 700 [US $28],” Polanco resident María del Carmen Landeros said. 

Landeros noted that she spent 5,000 pesos (US $275) on private water services for her six-unit apartment building; it only lasted three days.

Information from the Miguel Hidalgo mayor’s office indicates that there were 168 requests for pipas (water tankers) in Polanco, a wealthy neighborhood in the Miguel Hidalgo borough of Mexico City. In comparison, there were only two requests in the working-class Tacubaya neighborhood in the same borough. 

Because of shortages caused by high demand and a lower supply of water this year due to drought, water supplements provided by the city government aren’t always enough to keep the pipes flowing. Some Polanco residents who resort to ordering deliveries from private water suppliers say they are charged more when the suppliers find out which neighborhood they’re in. 

An unlicensed construction site in Polanco, CDMX
Mayor Mauricio Tabe blames construction pressures in the borough for the water shortages. (@alpeca/Twitter)

“We had a month without water… there was nothing. We put up with the drought by filling our cistern with the tanker trucks and telling the residents to use as little water as necessary.”

According to residents, the boom in construction projects in the area is contributing to the water scarcity. 

“The more construction projects there are, the less water there is,” said Miguel Hidalgo Borough Mayor Mauricio Tabe. 

The Mexico City Water System (Sacmex) attributes the shortage to low levels in the Cutzamala reservoir system, which is currently experiencing historic lows. 

“I do not know if Sacmex is closing the valves in some neighborhoods to generate more water in others. Obviously, the city government is the one that controls the valves and water distribution,” Tabe said. “Something that we insist the government do if there is no water is to repair leaks, which could guarantee water supply.” 

Tabe has requested 20 water tanks trucks per day from the city to face the dry season. 

In March, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that the capital will face a prolonged drought and an associated decrease in water supply to different neighborhoods, as the Cutzamala reservoir system did not fully recover during the 2022 rainy season. 

The boroughs hardest hit by the drought are Venustiano Carranza, Iztacalco and Iztapalapa, which are the furthest from the Cutzamala system, reported the newspaper Infobae in March. 

With reports from Reforma and Infobae

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