The Cutzamala System, which provides close to 25% of the water to the Metropolitan Zone of the Valley of Mexico, is facing a severe crisis. The system’s water levels are unable to increase due to a lack of precipitation, among other factors. This has led to a level filling of 39.8%, representing a deficit of 37% compared to historical records. Experts warn that the Valley of Mexico could reach “Day Zero” in approximately five months, a scenario where the reserves of water would be insufficient to maintain the usual supply, limited only to essential services.
The term “Day Zero” became known globally in 2018 with the crisis in Cape Town, South Africa, when a severe drought brought the city to the brink of such a crisis. The current projection of the National Water Commission (Conagua) indicates a collapse of the Cutzamala System estimated for June 26, 2024, leaving only 142 days left (counting from February 5, 2024). The UN estimates that the definitive Day Zero for the Valley of Mexico could occur in 2028 without effective water resources management.
Mexico City would be the most affected by a latent “Day Zero” since most of its municipalities depend on the supply of the Cutzamala System. However, some municipalities in the State of Mexico could also suffer the damage. The municipalities of Edomex that are part of the Cutzamala water distribution system and that could be left without supply in five months are Toluca, Metepec, San Mateo Atenco, and Lerma, as well as some localities of Tlalnepantla, Naucalpan, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Ecatepec, and Nezahualcóyotl.
The State of Mexico has various aquifers that are vital for the supply of drinking water in areas where surface water distribution systems do not reach or are insufficient. Some localities have implemented systems to capture rainwater and recharge local aquifers, as a measure to supplement water supply, especially in seasons of scarcity. In some rural and less urbanized areas, water from rivers and springs continues to be an important source for consumption and agricultural activities, although it requires adequate treatment to ensure its potability. There are also initiatives to treat and reuse wastewater for non-potable activities, such as irrigation of green areas or industrial use, thus contributing to the conservation of water resources.
The Cutzamala System is going through a severe crisis as it is unable to increase its water levels. PHOTO: CRISANTA ESPINOSA AGUILAR /CUARTOSCURO.COM Crisanta Espinosa Aguilar
This discouraging panorama requires an immediate response to prevent a disaster. Several mayors of Mexico City and municipalities of Edomex are facing imminent risks in the face of this crisis. It is important to take urgent action to implement effective water resource management strategies to avoid a potential water crisis in the Valley of Mexico.
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Environment, Local, Agriculture