La Boca dam, one of Monterrey's water sources. La Boca dam, one of Monterrey's water sources. File photo

Restrictions cut water service to six hours a day in Monterrey, Nuevo León

Rich neighborhoods are drinking up too much water, the water director said

Monterrey has a new surefire plan to deal with water shortages: to only make water available for six hours a day.

The taps of 5.3 million citizens living in Monterrey’s Metropolitan Zone and in neighboring municipalities have only been of use from 4-10 a.m. since Saturday, after the director of Servicios de Agua y Drenaje de Monterrey, the company that manages water in Nuevo León, announced the strategy.

Juan Ignacio Barragán Villarreal said the new water schedule would replace the “Water for Everyone” program, which had seen water cuts for one day a week rotating around different areas of the city since March 22.

The battle for water in Nuevo León has been long-running: the state declared a state of emergency on February 3 due to a lack of rain, which has caused a shortage of water in the Cerro Prieto and La Boca dams.

The Nuevo León water services company shared the modified restrictions on Twitter Friday.

Barragán made the announcement after meeting with Governor Samuel García and mayors from the affected areas. He said the plan, which was “drastic but necessary,” would “give certainty” to citizens and would be in place until at least August.

Barragán previously announced that water pressure would be reduced at properties that are consuming more than 70 cubic meters of water per month, after reporting that 30% of people were using more water than before restrictions were introduced.

Barragán said that the worst offenders were people living in wealthy residential areas and pointed blame at companies in office buildings and owners of houses in suburban areas where green areas and fruit trees were watered. He also admitted that 61 neighborhoods had gone without water for two to five days at some point since measures were introduced.

Protests by people in the city about the water situation have recently become widespread and have involved demonstrators blocking traffic, the newspaper El Universal reported.

Water supply is a big challenge for authorities in Nuevo León, where droughts can be severe. More than 90% of the state was reported to have abnormal dryness, moderate drought or severe drought in the National Water Commission’s (Conagua) latest drought monitoring report, published on June 3.

With reports from El Universal and Expansión Política

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