Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Mexico City’s massive water outage extended

AFP, MEXICO CITY

Police officers stand guard near a drinking water tank, installed to supply local residents, during a cut-off of running water due to maintenance tasks in Mexico City on Monday.

Photo: AFP

Authorities in Mexico City on Monday said that they had to extend a massive water outage that has affected millions of people for five days by another 40 hours because of an infrastructure glitch.

The main water system that supplies the sprawling capital of 20 million people was shut off on Wednesday last week to make what officials say are vital upgrades to the network.

Because it will take time to pump water back into the pipes, full service is now not expected to be restored until today or tomorrow, authorities said.

“We’re looking at eight days [without water] now. We had never had such a major outage in the city,” Mexico City Mayor Jose Ramon Amieva said.

The water outage has affected 4 million people in the city and another 3 million in the suburbs.

The National Water Commission (Conagua) is changing enormous sections of pipes and other infrastructure in the Cutzamala hydraulic system, which pumps water 500m above the city to provide the pressure that delivers it across the capital.

Officials had turned the pumps back on Sunday, but had to turn them off again when a giant piece of tubing known as an “inverted K” came loose, they said.

They are soldering more metal into place around it to avoid “major damage to the structure,” Conagua said in a statement.

As the water outage continued, police could be seen standing guard at massive blue cisterns of emergency water that have been set up in neighborhoods most prone to scarcity.

Already, many neighborhoods have had to rely on water brought in on tanker trucks.

The water crunch is set to get worse this week, as many residents return home from holiday weekends outside the city for Mexico’s Day of the Dead festival.

“Now we’re facing the most difficult moment, hoping the maintenance work will be finished soon,” Amieva told TV network Televisa.

Water problems are nothing new for many in Mexico City: Of the capital’s 2.5 million homes, nearly 569,000 do not receive water on a daily basis, while 45,950 have no running water at all.

The hugely inefficient water system loses 40 percent in leaks, according to some estimates.

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