From AZBigMedia.com (Victoria Harker):
Mexico is one of a growing list of countries deemed most at risk of hitting “Day Zero” when they no longer have enough water to meet citizen needs, according to a new report by global research organization, World Resources Institute (WRI).
The nonprofit institute categorized countries into five different levels according to their relative risk of consuming all of their water resources, ranging from “Low Baseline Water Stress” to “Extremely High Baseline Water Stress.”
Mexico is one of 44 countries – representing one-third of the world’s population – that fall into the second-highest category, “High Baseline Water Stress,” meaning that the nation consumes between 40 and 80 percent of the water supply available in a year.
Fifteen states in the northern and central part of Mexico fall within the “Extremely High” category, meaning they are withdrawing more than 80 percent of their available supply.Among them are some of Arizona’s closest neighbors: Sonora, Chihuahua, Baja California Sur.
Arizona impacted by Mexican water woes
That’s of concern to Arizona. If trends continue, this suggests that one of the world’s biggest water crises could happen at the state’s southern door.
“Along the U.S.-Mexico border, there are significant issues with water use and they involve, particularly in Mexico, aging water infrastructure that is delivering water or treating wastewater,” said John Shepard, senior director of programs for the nonprofit Sonoran Institute in Tucson that raises funding and leads projects to protect fresh water and treat wastewater in border communities and in the massive Colorado River Delta.
The Sonoran Institute has raised funding and support to revive former wetlands through projects like the Las Arenitas Wastewater Treatment Plant in border town, Mexicali, Mexico, where new wetlands have been established adjacent the plant and act as a natural bio filter to improve the quality of wastewater.
That wastewater also is being used to revive rivers like the Santa Cruz and Hardy, a tributary of the Colorado RIver.
Nogales wastewater pipeline next on list to fix
Another goal is to raise funding to replace the 8.5-mile sewer pipeline that spills sewage from Mexico into Arizona. At one point the stink caused Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to declare a brief state of emergency.
The pipeline, called the International Outfall Interceptor, takes sewage from the small Arizona city of Nogales and the adjacent manufacturing city of Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, to the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant in Rio Rico, Arizona. Millions of gallons flow to the plant each day that are discharged into the Santa Cruz river.
Leaking like a sieve
In Mexico, many water problems are the result of decaying water and wastewater infrastructure.
Mexico City, whose severe water issues come from being built in a valley that has no above water resources. The vast majority of water is stored in an underground aquifer. Leaks and breaks in the water and wastewater systems are causing a massive water loss, including an estimated 40 percent of drinking water.