There is a growing water crisis in San Miguel de Allende.
I have been told that the Independencia Aquifer, the aquifer that provides water to San Miguel de Allende and surrounding area, will be dry in 20 years! There are also a host of other water-related problems.
According to Ecosystem Sciences, deforestation, over-grazing of livestock, soil degradation, and diminishing groundwater have created a serious threat to local water resources in San Miguel de Allende. Moreover, "much of the surface water in the area is contaminated with human and industrial waste.
In addition, as the groundwater level drops, the concentration of naturally occurring salts and minerals is increasing. Studies show that the fluoride levels in the groundwater in certain areas of San Miguel de Allende are above acceptable concentration (Ecosystem Sciences). To read more, go to their website: www.ecosystemsciences.com
The Global Water Crisis
Water scarcity is not just a local problem in Mexico. It is a global problem. One of the topics covered in my course, Global Social Change, is the the crisis of water scarcity worldwide.
Here are some facts:
- While 70% of the earth's surface is covered by water, 97.5% of the world's water is salt water and 2.5% fresh water.
- According to the World Health Organization, less than 1% of the world's freshwater is readily available for human world consumption. 70% of the earth's freshwater is used for irrigation.
- Out of 191 nations in the world, 10 nations share 65% of the world's annual water resources.
- 1.2 billion people - or almost 1 out of 5 people in the world - are without access to safe drinking water and half of the world's population lacks adequate water purification systems.
- 2.4 billion people, or 40% of the world's population, do not have access to adequate sanitation.
- In 1998, 31 countries faced chronic freshwater shortages. By the year 2025, 48 countries are expected to face shortages, affecting nearly 3 billion people - 35% of the world's projected population.
- Residents of developing nations pay on average 12 times more per liter of water than those getting their water through municipal systems.
- According to the UN and the World Health Organization, 80% of diseases in developing nations stem from consumption of and exposure to unsafe water, which kills more than 25,000 people each day.
- The UN estimates that in less than 25 years, if present water consumption trends continue, 5 billion people will be living in areas where it will be impossible or difficult to meet basic water needs for sanitation, cooking and drinking.
The global water crisis must be tackled on both local and global levels.
In San Miguel de Allende, a number of local organizations have started rainwater collection efforts, mostly in rural areas where water contains dangerous levels of fluoride. I mentioned last week that the Rotary Club is involved in helping to fund these efforts.
Another, "Todos por el Agua" (Everyone for Water), is a local initiative in San Miguel de Allende for restoring, conserving and protecting the area's water resources and the environment. Funding from federal and state conservation programs, as well as funds collected from water users can help farmers and landowners implement watershed restoration projects. "Todos por el Agua is currently developing a coalition of non-profit organizations, government agencies and citizens that are interested in participating in "Todos por el Agua".
The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a report, The Right To Water. It examines the issue of water as a human right.
World Water Day 2009 was held this past year on March 22nd. You can visit their website to learn more about some of the global efforts to help solve the global water crisis.