Mexico’s Drinking Water Problem: How the Citizens are Solving the Crisis


Not being able to drink clean water in Mexico has become a huge problem. Not all of the population can safely access clean water, and sometimes in order to do so they are forced to travel for long distances.

Mexicans carry empty bottles in the search for clean water

The main alternative is using the pump, which often has long queues. This system is really popular and in Mexico City is  the  normal routine. The problem is that there isn’t enough water within the pump system to cater for 22 million people – the size of the Mexican population. Fred De Sam Lazaro states that with such a high number of people “it’s like filling a swimming pool with a teacup”  and pressure has been mounted on the government to find other solutions.

The pumping system is nevertheless really simple: they pump water out from the ground, put it in vans and then distribute it around houses. The only problem with this system is that people only get water once in a week, and it’s really expensive.Mexican children search for clean water

Luckily, people in the local community are taking matters into their own hands, using their own skills to find alternative solutions.

Enrique Lomnitz, a Mexican man that has travelled a lot between U.S. and his own country, is one of those problem solvers. He also happens to have  an industrial design degree from MIT.

A Mexican Industrialist filters water using a hose

Enrique founded Isla Urbana, a society that whose goal is to bring clean water to Mexico City, launching formally in 2009. He came up with a system that allows you to capture rain water. They take the rainwater from the roofs, and then pass the water through a filter pipe. This mechanism is important because in this way the water is three times cleaner than it was before. It is then piped into the water tank, and once in there they are able to add additional filters to make sure the water is completely potable.

With this system people are able to live with water from 5 to 8 months without problems.

Clara, one of those who received this experimental system, says that “ this system has changed [my]life, thanks to Isla Urbana [I] live differently now. [I] don’t have to worry about water because [I] always have it”.

Even at Santa Monica College you’ll find citizens taking matters into their own hands. Andres Rennella and Corey Eichenberger, are the two young founders of non-profit organisation Pure Drift. They set up the project in May, having  just returned form their last trip to Mexico. During this period they installed water filters in a local orphanage in La Morelos. Their goal over the last couple of months, while they were travelling in Mexico, South America and Central America, was to distribute water filters to the rural communities who needed them.

In order to help many Mexican citizens are donating money to the non-profit organisation. Most of the donations are used to buy filters and expenses for the travel.

The drinking problem in Mexico is a constant issue particularly due to the lack of participation of the government. The population is more aware than ever about this issue, and are finding some solutions by themselves. Who knows, maybe the people will solve the problem before the President.

If you like this article you may be interested in “The Peace Bus: Meet The Unlikely Team Saving Rural Mexico”.


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