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One of the sites where water system upgrades are being carried out. One of the sites where water system upgrades are being carried out.

Mexico City water project at least 12 hours behind schedule

Conagua expects to turn the water back on later this evening

Reopening of Mexico City’s main water system after maintenance work is about 12 hours behind schedule, the National Water Commission (Conagua) said this afternoon.

Water supply has been cut in large parts of the capital and surrounding metropolitan area since October 31.

The water was scheduled to be turned back on at 8:00am today but Conagua said that work to connect lines 1 and 2 of the Cutzamala system had not yet been completed.

Commission director Roberto Ramírez de la Parra said yesterday that there was a possibility that the system’s valves would be opened before the conclusion of the 72-hour period designated for the maintenance work.

But now Conagua says that the work should be completed between 9:00 and 11:00pm tonight.

Around 400 Conagua employees have been working on the maintenance project at three different sites.

Rainy, windy and cold weather have hampered their efforts but last night the project was ahead of schedule.

De la Parra said that rain had heightened the risk of electrocution due to the equipment workers are using but no incidents have been reported.

He added that the work would ensure that the Cutzamala system continues to function for the next 50 years and “it won’t need major maintenance” for the next 10.

Mexico City Mayor José Ramón Amieva said no incidents related to the suspension of the water system had been reported and that the capacity of water tanker trucks to handle the load had not been exceeded as some people had feared.

Around 60% of the 3,000 daily water deliveries the trucks have made during the three-day outage have gone to Iztapalapa, Amieva said.

“We believe that is because of its greater population density and also . . . a lot of homes don’t have water tanks,” the mayor said.

Amieva added that after the supply is turned on it could take up to 72 hours before normal water pressure returns.

With residents returning to work and school after the Day of the Dead holiday, a big test for the Cutzamala system — one of the largest water supply systems in the world — will come in the first hours of Monday.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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