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11 AMBIO -Tortajada

11 AMBIO -Tortajada

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_CeciliaTorlajada
WaterManagementforaMegacity:MexicoCityMetropolitanArea
ThepaperpresentsanoverviewofthepresentsituationoftheMexicoCityMetropolitanArea(MCMA).Theanalysisindicatesanurgentneedtoradically
improve
thecurrentwatersupplyandwastewatermanagementpractices,tobecomesustainable.TheMCMAisoneofthemostrapid-lygrowingurbancentersoftheworld,withapopulationofabout21millionpeople,averyhighrateofimmigrationandnumerousillegalsettlements.Inordertomeettheincreasingwaterdemand.successivegovernmentshavefocusedalmoslexclusivelyonsupplymanagementandengineeringsolutions,which
have
resultedininvestmentsofhundredsofmillionsofUSDandtheconstructionofmajorinfrastructureprojectsforinterbasinwatertransfer.Environmental,economicandsocialpoliciesassociatedwithwatermanagementaremostlyinadequateandinsufficient,whichisresultinginincreasingdeteriorationintheenvironment,healthandsocioeconomicconditionsofapopulationlivinginoneofthelargesturbanagglo-merationsoftheworld.Surprisingly,
however,
nolong-termstrategiesondemand-management,reuse,conservation,andimprovedwater-managementpracticeshavebeendevelopedsofar.
INTRODUCTION
MexicoCityMetropolitanArea(MCMA)islocatedinanatu-ralclosedbasincalledValledeMexico,at2240mabovesealevel(ma.s.1.).ItincludestheFederalDistrictand34munici-palitiesoftheStateofMexico.MexicoCity,thecapitalofMexico,islocatedintheFederalDistrict(DistritoFederal,DF),surroundedbymountains,reachinganaltitudeofover5000ma.s.l.TheStateofMexicoisthemostpopulatedareainMexico(13millioninhabitantsaccording
10
reports),followedbyMexicoCity,withalmost8.6millionpeople(1).Themetropolitanareaisoneofthemostrapidlygrowingur-bancentersinthecountry,
with
asurfaceareaof4902kin',about21millioninhabitants(accountingfor18.4%ofthetotalpopu-lationofMexico).ThequalityoflifeofthepopulationlivingintheMCMAareahasdecreaseddramaticallyintherecentyears,primarilyduetohighpopulationdensity(rangingfrom131indo
km"
upto18075indo
km")
andextensiveair,water,andsoilpollution.Historically,thecityhasfacedseverewaterproblems,whichhavebecomemoreacuteduetoacontinuousincreaseinthepopulationandthecontaminationofsurfaceandgroundwaterinandaroundthecity(2).FigureIpresentsanoverviewofpopulationgrowthandwaterdemandsintheMCMA.Atpresent,95.3%ofthepopulationinDFand84.2%intheStateofMexicohaveaccesstowater,eitherbywaterconnec-tiondirectlytohousesorfromcommonfaucetsintheneighborhood(3).ThepercapitawatersupplyinMexicoCityisabout364Lcap"day'inMexicoCityandaround230Lcap"
day"
intheStateofMexico,whichwouldrepresentanav-eragedailyconswnptionof297Lcap'day'intheMCMAasawhole.However,theactualamountreceivedbyeachindividualissignificantlyless,becausethisaverageincludeswaterusebyindustriesandservices,leakagesofmorethan40%,unauthor-izeduses,anddifferences
in
distributionpatternsinthediffer-entareasofthemetropolitanarea(2,4).
124
SincemostofthewatersourceswhichsupplywatertotheMCMAarelocatedtoitswest,northandsouth,thewatersup-plyissomewhatirregularandunreliableforthepopulationliv-ingintheeasternpart,whichiscurrentlymostaffectedbywa-tershortages.More
than
5%ofthepeoplelivinginthemetro-politanareastillhavetobuywaterfromeitherpublicorprivatewatertrucks.Thecostofwater(200Lcontainers)representsfrom6to25%ofdailysalaries(5).Atpresent,poorpeoplewhobuywaterfromtruckspayabout500%morethandoregistereddomesticconsumers.Thewatersupplyofthemetropolitanareadependsmainlyonthelocalgroundwatersourcesandonthetransferofsurfacewa-tersfrommoreandmoredistantbasins.Inordertomeetpartofthewaterneedsofthepopulation,atotalvolumeof2453x10'm'
day'
isabstractedfrom414wells,(l476x10'm'day
I),
30springs(76x10'rn'
day")
and93sourcesofsnowmelt(900x10'rrr'
day')
(3).ThesecondmainwatersourceistheLerma-BalsasandCutzamalariverbasins.InMexicoCity,waterisdistributedtotheusersthroughapri-marynetworkof882
km
ofpipelinesandasecondarynetworkof12042
km
(2).Thewatersupplysystemincludes16damshavingatotalstoragecapacityof207527x10'm'(3).Infor-mationontheinfrastructureforwaterdistributionfortheStateofMexicoisnotavailable.Atpresent,theNationalWaterCommission
(ComisionNacionaldelAgua,CNA)
suppliesabout24m'
S-I
ofwatertothemetropolitanarea.CNAisalsoresponsibleforconstructingandoperatingdistributionsystemstotransferwaterfromotherbasinstothebasinoftheValleyofMexico.Itoperatesalsosomeoftheexistingdeepwells,whileothersbelongtotheStateofMexicoandMexicoCitygovernments(6).Thedistributionsys-temhasbecomesohugeandcomplexthatthewaterextractedfromwellsinonepartoftheMCMAdoesnotnecessarilyenterthesystemwithinthesameservicedistrict.Thereare24wastewater-treatmentplantsinMexico
City
and41inthemunicipalitiesoftheStateofMexicowhicharepartofthemetropolitanarea.These65plantshaveaninstalledca-pacityof10174L
S-I
(6412Ls"inMexicoCityand3763L
s'
intheStateofMexico).SomeI637000x10'm'ofwastewatersareproducedannuallyinMexicoCityalone,ofwhichnomorethan9%aretreated.ThereisnoinformationavailableonthewastewaterthatitisproducedintheStateofMexico(2).
It
isnotknownwhetherallthetreatmentplantsarecurrentlyfunctional,ortheextenttowhichtheircapacitiesareused.However,irrespectiveofthenumerousinfrastructuresthathavebeenconstructedtoprovidecleanwateranddisposeofthewastewatersoftheMCMA,therearestillnostrategiesforinte-gratedmanagementoftheinfrastructuresasawholewithinthemetropolitanarea,includingpracticesasbasicasregularandtimelymaintenance.Forexample,inJune2000,heavyrains,andthelackofmaintenancebythewaterauthoritiesoftheLaCompafiiariver(nowawastewatercanal)intheeasternpartoftheMCMA,resultedintheflooding,withwastewater,of80haofaverypoorurbanarea,damagingnearly1200housesandaf-fecting6000peoplewholostalltheirproperty,andweresub-
j
ecttohealthrisks.Thecostforcleaningthearea,supporttosomeofthefamilies,andrepairofthecanalwascalculatedatapprox.55millionpesos(USD6million).Additionally,oneof
©RoyalSwedishAcademyofSciences
2003
AmbiaVul.32No.2,March2003
 
Figure1.Populationgrowth,populationdensity,andwaterdemandsintheMCMA,
1999.
Populationgrowth,MCMADensitypopulation,MCMA,1995_18015-1~4891indkllt'_134891-1464indkm"
_7463-380
indkilt'_380-1913ndkilt'
EJ
193-131indkilt'FederalDislrlct
Boundary
Municipality
Boundary
Waterdemand.,MCMA
rem
~10000
+--------
m,---------------------------
ror------------
~+------------{:+--------
1S101S2O16lJ1S401S5O18;01m1
eBJ
1WJalOO
.....
themainhighwaystotheMCMA(PueblaHighway)wasclosedforabout10days.Therearerecordsthatshowthatthemunici-palityandthelocalwaterutilitywarnedCNAofcracksinthecaoalanddemaodedmaintenaoceworkduringthepreceding2years.Thesewarningswerenotheeded,andthemuch-neededmaintenaoceworkwasnevercarriedout.Asaresult,thecanalwallscollapsedandtheentirearea,includingthehouses,werefloodedwithwastewater.TheHumanRightsCommissionafterreviewingthesituation,recommendedthatappropriatestaffmembersshouldbeheldadministrativelyandlegallyresponsi-bleforthenegligence.Notsurprisingly,noactionwasevertakeninthisregard(7).ThereisaourgentneedforallthestakeholdersinvolvedandinterestedinthesustainabilityoftheMCMAanditslargepopu-lationtodevelopalong-termregionalstrategywhichincludessocioeconomicdevelopment,povertyalleviation,qualityoflife,andwaterandwastewatermaoagement.However,realstake-holderparticipation,forallpracticalpurposes,isconspicuousbyitsabsence.Whilethisisanimportaotissue,itisbeyondthescopeofthepresentpaper.Thepresentpaperisanin-depthanalysisofthesizeandcomplexityofurbanwaterandwaste-water-managementproblemsinoneofthelargestmegacitiesintheworld.
MAINSOURCESOFWATERSUPPLYTOTHEMETROPOLITANAREAOFMEXICOCITY
TheMCMAislocatedintheValleyofMexicobasin,whichissurroundedbythebasinsofLerma,Cutzamala,Amacuzac,LibresOriental,andTecolutlarivers(8).TheLermaandtheCutzamalariverbasin,togetherwiththeaquiferoftheValleyofMexico,arethemainsourcesofwaterforthepopulationliv-inginthemetropolitanarea.TheaquiferoftheValleyofMexicocontributeswith70%(45m'
S-I),
theLerma-Balsasriverbasinwith9%(6m'
S-I)
andtheCutzamalariverbasinswith21%(19m'
S-I)
(3,4).ThedesignforCutzamalaisfor19m'
s',
butitdeliversonly14m'
s'.
TheAquiferoftheMexicoValleyTheannualrateofwithdrawalfromtheaquiferoftheMexicoValleyissignificantlyhigherthantherechargerate:45m'
S-I
isabstractedbutthenaturalrechargerateisonly20m'
S-I,
leav-inganoverexploitationof25m'
S-I
(9).TheoverexploitationoftheaquiferhascontributedtotheloweringofthewatertablebyaboutImeachyear,whichhasresultedinlandsubsidenceattherateof10-40cmyr
1
insomepartsofthecity.Atpresent,
AmbioVol.32No.2,March2003
1e101SZO1S3J19110-EOO1$01S701eaJ
1S9J
2XO
-
theaverageannualsubsidenceoftheCityintheareaofthecitycentreis10em,and20-25ernattheInternationalAirportofMexicoCity.
It
isestimatedthatthecentralareaofthemetro-politanareahassubsidedby10mduringthelast100yrs(2,10).Theproblemsrelatedtowatersupplyinthemetropolitanareaextendbeyondthesubsistenceofthecity.Theentirehydraulicsystem,forexample,hasbecomenotonlyverylargeandcom-plex,butalsoobsoleteinmanyareas.Waterdistributiontothepopulationvariesinthedifferentpartsofthecity,thetariffsarestillveryhighlysubsidized,andthepopulationwastesenormousamountsofwater.Peoplelivinginthericherareasconsumeupto600Lcap'
day',
whilethecorrespondingrateinthepoorareasisabout20Lcap'
day'
(11).Deepwelldrillinghasre-sultedintheincreaseofsubstanceslikeironandmaogaoese,de-creasingwaterqualityandcontributingtomoreexpensivewa-terpurification.Theurbaninfrastructurehasbecomemorevul-nerabletoearthquakes.Theoverexploitationisdrainingsoilhu-midityinthesurroundingmountains,whichisdamagingforestresourcesandreducingecosystemintegrity(12).Averyhighpercentageofwaterislostfromthedistributionnetworksduetoleakagefromoldpipes,absenceofpropermain-tenanceoverprolongedperiods,poorconstructionandmanage-mentpractices,andcontinuinglandsubsidenceinthemetropoli-tanarea(2,4).Itisestimatedthattheamountlostwouldbeenoughtoprovidewaterformorethan4millionpeople(9).
In
1994,about42242leakageswererepairedinthewatersupplydistributionnetwork;33463leakagesin1995;and41246leak-agesin1996(13).AquiferofLermaValley
In
1942,theLermaValleyproject(62
km
fromMexicoCity)wasinitiatedtoincreasewateravailabilityinthemetropolitanarea.Thefirststagebrought4m's
-1
ofwatertothemetropoli-tanarea.
It
includedtheconstructionof5wellsbetween50and308mdeepforgroundwaterextraction,anda62km,2.5diam-eterpipe,forwaterdistribution.Thispipegoesalongthe
SierradelasCruces,
throughthe14
km
Atarasquillo-DosRios
tun-nel.Fourstoragetankseachof100mindiameterand10mindepthwerebuiltinMexicoCitytoreceivethewateroftheLermaproject.ThiswaterwaslaterdistributedtotheMCMAbygrav-ity.TheincreasingdemandfOTwaterinthemetropolitanarea,resultedintheconstructionofthesecondstageoftheproject.Between1965-1975some230deepwellswereconstructedin-creasingthevolumeofwaterdistributedto14m'
S-I.
However,duetoenvironmentalimpactandsocialconflicts,thisvolume
~RoyalSwedishAcademyofSciences2003http://www.ambio.kva.se
125
 
hasbeenreducedto6rrr's
1
(8,12).ThepoliticalrelationshipbetweentheauthoritiesofMexicoCityandtheStateofMexicohasbeenstronglyinfluencedbysocialconflictswhichhaveresultedfromtheinterbasintransferofwaterfromtheLermaValleytothemetropolitanarea.TheoverexploitationoftheaquifersintheLermaareahasresultedinreducedagriculturalproductivity,andirrigationhasgivenwaytorainfedagriculture.Theeconomyoftheregionandthelifeofthepopulationhavechangeddrasticallybecauseofthesemodifications.Inspiteofthis,themaininterestoftheFederalandtheMexicoCitygovernmentscontinuestobeprimarilytoincreasewateravailabilitytothemetropolitanarea.Asawayofcompensatinglocalpopulations,smallinfrastructuralprojectshavebeenconstructedinthevillageswhichhavebeenaffectedbytheLermaproject,withoutmuchimpact.(8,12).CutzamalaSystem.In1976,theCutzamalaSystem
(SistemaCutzamala)
ProjectwasplannedtosupplywatertothemetropolitanareafromtheCutzamalariver,andtoreducetheoverexploitationoftheMexicoValleyaquifer.Thewaterhastobetransferredfrom60to154Ianawayandpumpedtoaheightofmorethan1000m,whichmakesthisoperationextremelyenergy-intensiveandex-pensive(4).Initially,whatlaterbecametheCutzamalaSystem,wasplannedasahydropowerproject,MiguelAlemanHydropowerSystem.Cutzamalawasstartedbytakingadvantageofthein-frastructuresthatalreadywereconstructedforhydropowergen-eration.Theplannedwaterusewaschanged.Currently,only3m'
S-1
areusedtogeneratehydropowerduringpeakhours,tosatisfylocalenergyrequirements,mainlyforagriculturalandin-dustrialsectors.Duetothemagnitudeoftheproject,itsconstructionwasini-tiallyplannedin3stages.Thefirststagehasbeenunderopera-tionfrom1982(4
m'
S-I),
thesecondfrom1985(6
m'
S-I),
andthethirdonefrom1993(9
m'
S-I)
(14).Duringthefirststageoftheproject,waterwasbroughtfromtheVictoriaDamandwasdistributedthroughanaqueduct77
km
longand2.5mwide,whichcrossesthemountain
SierradelasCruces.
Thesecondandthirdstagesoftheprojectincludedtheconstructionofawa-terpurificationplantandacentralaqueduct.Theimplementa-tionofthese2latterstageswasverycom-plex,rnainlyduetotheheighttowhichthewater
had
tobepumped.TnthecaseofthcColorinesDam,waterhastobepumpedtoaheightof
llOO
m(15)(Fig.2).TheelectricitythatisusedtopumpthetotalvolumeoftheCutzamalasystemtothepurificationplantisequivalenttotheto-talenergyconsumedinthecityofPuebla,withapopulationof1.5millionpeople(8,12~.TheCutzamalaSystemutilizes7reser-voirswhichstoreatotalvolumeof790-840x10'm'ofwater.
It
includesonepipeline,aregulatoryreservoir,a127Ianlongaqueduct,with21Ianoftunnels,7.5
km
opencanal,andonewater-treatmentplant(24nr's
-I
capacity)(16).Sixpump-ingstationsarenecessarytoraisewaterby1300m,requiringatotalenergyof1650kWh
yr'
(4).ThewaterisfirsttreatedatthesourceintheLosBerrostreatmentplant(prechlorination,alumcoagulation/flocculation,gravitysedimentation,andrapidsandfiltration)andthenitenterstheCutzamalaSystem(17).OneofthemostimportantdamsinthesystemisVallede126Bravodam,whichstoresapproximately394x10'm
3
ofwater,butreceivesdischargesofwastewaterfromtheurbanareasnearbyanditisinfestedwithaquaticweeds,whichaffectthewaterquality(8).
In
1997,thefourthstage(Temascaltepecproject)wasexpectedtobeinitiated..Thisstageincludedtheconstructionofa120
m
highdam,witha743mlongcrest.Thereservoirwouldhaveacapacityof65x10'm'ofwatertosupplyanapproximateflowof5000L
S-I.
It
includedconstructionofa15m"
S-I
pumpingstation,andconstructionof18Ianofcanalsand12
km
of
tun-
nels(4).ThewaterwouldbedistributedtotheValledeBravodamthrougha18.75Ianlongand3.5mdiametertunnel.Thetunnelwouldbe160to700
m
deep,dependingongeographicalconditions.Accordingtoofficialfigures,theinitialinvestmentisestimatedat
usn
502million.OncethefourthstageoftheCutzamalaisoperational,thevolumeofwaterwouldincreaseonlyby5
m'
S-I,
from19
m'
S-I
to24
m'
S-I
(18,19).Thegovernmenthasnotbeenabletostartconstructionoftheprojectduetoserioussocialproblems(4).ThepopulationinthevillagesofTemascaltepecinsistthattheconstructionofthe
tun-
nel
will
dry
upseveralsprings,like
EINaranjo,LaHuerta,ElSombrero
and
ElChilar,
whichwouldaffecttheagriculturalpro-ductivityofthearea,andthustheincomesofthelocalfarmers.Theareaisamajorproducerofmaize,sugarcane,banana,to-mato,melon,andpeas,withimportantmarketsinMexicoCityandToluca,thecapitaloftheStateofMexico.Notsurprisingly,allthepeoplewhowouldbeadverselyaffectedbytheprojectareagainstit.Frompastexperience,theyknowthattheirincomesandlifestyles,aswellasthedevelopmentoftheregion,willbeirreversiblyaffectednegatively.TheCNAhastriedtoconvincethembyconstructingsomesmallinfrastructuralprojects,butsofarthepeoplearemoreinterestedintheirownwelfare,ratherthaninthepopulationofthemetropolitanarea(8).Inthepast,governmentalinstitutionshavegenerallyignoredthepotentialsocialconflictswhichcouldresultfrominterbasintransfers.Norhavetheycarriedoutanalysesofthenatureofthebeneficiariesoftheprojectandidentificationofthepeoplewhomayhavetopaythecost,andhowtheycanbeproperlycom-pensated.Mostsurprisingly,eventheEnvironmentalImpactAssessment
(ElA)
forthefourthstageofCutzamalaSystem(4)doesnotconsideranyofitssocialimpacts.Asformost
ElA
stud-
Figure2.OverviewoftheInfrastructureforCutzamalaSystem.Theelevationatwhich1hedifferentdamsamIpumpingplantsoftheSystemareconstructedispresented(t5).
.....
'600
'BOO
....
.:./............"ru...
EITuleDam
Dam
PumJloi\gplait(P,P.)
---~--PiezlITlfll:ric...e
©RoyalSwedishAcademyofSciences2003http://www.ambio.kva.seAmbioVol.32No.2,March2003

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