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Mexico plans water supply boost

File photo of people queuing for water in Mexico City
Mexico City's size puts a strain on water resources

Mexico is to make a major investment in water projects to try to guarantee that at least 95% of the population has access to clean drinking water by 2012.

President Felipe Calderon said the government would invest $21bn (10.6bn) to expand supply networks and to improve drainage and water treatment.

The aim was to work for the sustainable development of Mexico, he said.

A key challenge is Mexico City, home to 20 million people, which suffers both water shortages and flash floods.

"There is an imbalance between the availability of water, population growth and economic development," said President Calderon as he unveiled the investment programme during a visit to the state of Hidalgo.

Mexico's population, currently some 106 million, had quadrupled in the last 55 years, he said, with people tending to concentrate in urban areas where provision of drinking water was more expensive.

Another consequence of this growth had been the effect on the environment, he said, including the pollution of rivers, lakes and aquifers.

The investment programme unveiled by Mr Calderon includes the following aims by 2012:

  • ensure that at least 95% of Mexicans have access to clean drinking water, expanding distribution to 10 million more people
  • guarantee that some 90% are served by sewage drains - 6.5 million more people than currently
  • modernise 1.2 million hectares (3 million acres) of irrigation systems
  • treat at least 60% of sewage - up from 38% today

Among the projects to improve drainage and wastewater treatment will be the construction of a 62km-long (38 miles) drainage tunnel to serve Mexico City.

The capital suffers frequent flooding, particularly in poorer districts that have clogged drains or no sewage system at all.

The city is also sinking as more and more water is pumped from underground sources to supply its population.


SEE ALSO
Mexico water marches turn violent
17 Mar 06 |  Americas
Quenching Mexico City's thirst
16 Mar 06 |  Americas
Water policy 'fails world's poor'
09 Mar 06 |  Science/Nature
Map: The world's water hotspots
20 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature
Water scarcity: A looming crisis?
19 Oct 04 |  Science/Nature

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