The Alto Río Laja Watershed stretches across seven municipalities in northern Guanajuato State in Central Mexico. Ninety-nine percent of the water consumed in this region comes from a large underground reservoir known as the Alto Río Laja Aquifer, which serves several thousand distinct communities – including San Miguel de Allende – providing life-sustaining water to well over half a million residents. This region faces unprecedented water challenges. Wells are going dry, and the water that remains contains high levels of arsenic and fluoride – a toxic cocktail known to cause permanent damage to teeth and bones, cognitive development issues in children, and various cancers. Children are at greatest risk, as their growing bodies absorb these minerals more rapidly.
Following a short documentary, Consuming the Future, which highlights the role of export-agriculture on local water issues, Dylan Terrell, executive director and founder of Caminos de Agua, speaks on the current state of water in our region through technical, social, and political lenses. Why is this happening? Who is impacted? What can we do as individuals and as a collective?
Caminos de Agua's mission is to create access to clean water with communities at risk, and they have been working on both regional and national water issues for nearly a decade. They provide open-source water solutions for communities on our aquifer in Central Mexico, and leverage those solutions for others confronting similar water challenges around the globe. Caminos works in partnership with local communities, leading research institutions, and other diverse actors to innovate and implement water solutions that create adequate access to safe, healthy drinking water supplies. They also act as a “field school” for aspiring, socially-responsible engineers, scientists, and other young professionals and interns looking to make social and environmental impacts in their work.