Once upon a long ago, I worked in central London, in a posh convenience store frequented by the wealthy residents of Kensington. And tourists. Horses of them. Many of whom were also on the wealthy side of stinking rich. Tourists will often ask for directions to the most famous parts of the city. And they would rarely come even close to pronouncing Leicester Square correctly. On a slow work day, one would take a perverse pleasure in feigned ignorance when asked Continue reading
I watched a Horizon documentary on my bus back from Merida, by David Attenborough, all about how many people the planet can sustain. Tens of billions of Indians, or about a billion and a half Americans. Apparently. It’s a resources thing. Mexico City featured in the show, due to the chronic water shortages here – I have mentioned this before one or ten times, I’m sure. It was a good watch anyway – you can grab the episode here if you are familiar with Bit Torrents.
The water situation has become dire in Mexico City. There are posters and other awareness campaigns all over the place, warning that the current rate of consumption, after some fairly dry rainy seasons recently, will exhaust the reservoirs. It has to be said, the water problem in DF isn’t simply a matter of people wasting the stuff – most people I know are fairly careful. It’s also a matter of the terrible management of supplies and recycling. Little to no investment in infrastructure for decades never ends well.
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There is also this report, showing how serious the situation is, and how the government intends to tackle the problem in the short term – price increases. Although it has to be said the increases still add up to a fairly meagre amount. I know that I pay substantially less in Distrito Federal than those who live in the Estado de Mexico pay, thanks to generous subsidies. But if I got a constant supply for my money, I also know I’d pay plenty more than they do. Having your water cut off for hours, occasionally even days, at a time is not nice.
Valle de Bravo, Mexico – Lake Avandaro has long been the emblem of leisure in this wealthy, colonial town west of Mexico City, but the capital sucked it half-dry last spring.
Ever thirstier, Mexico City diverted tonnes of water from the lake to the capital, putting the quaint village of Valle de Bravo in jeopardy as a popular weekend vacation spot for the rich.
Water skiers and boaters had to dodge emerging rocks as the lake level dropped to half its normal volume.
“I was born here and I have never seen it at that level,” said Carlos Gonzalez, 33, manager of the floating Los Pericos restaurant that was in danger of resting on the lakebed just a few months ago.
Mexico City, one of the world’s biggest cities at 20 million people, has long struggled with a lack of water but the crisis worsened last year due to drought that has left reservoirs at record lows.
Rainy season came on time this year. Then went away again. But over the last couple of weeks it has returned with a vengeance. Downpours that have had people furiously brushing the flood water down drains as it crept up to their doorways. Thunder here is also something to behold. Maybe it’s the altitude, but the thunder here is particularly loud and will literally rattle the glass in windows.
It’s not like this all day, happily. It’ll start some time around 5pm and go on for an hour or two. Sometimes a little longer. By morning the sky is blue, the air is fresh (or at least a little more breathable) and the plants are all doing their best to soak up as much water as possible before the midday sun strikes.
We do need the rain. Reservoirs that supply the city’s drinking water are running very low. But I’m not terribly fond of it myself. It’s a risky choice to ride my bike to work in the evening. Anyway, here’s a short video of last nights deluge in the street outside my home.
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