San Miguel's Water Crisis

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 - 11:00am
Cesar Arias & Atahualpa Caldera Sosa

Desertification and declining access to potable water are central features of global warming and the worldwide environmental crisis. By 2030, a 40% global shortfall in a stable supply of good-quality fresh water is expected. As of 2008, 70% of the world’s water was used for agricultural needs. With industrial agricultural comes heavy pesticide and chemical use. These chemicals flow into the river systems and alter ecosystems. An additional dilemma is the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply. In 2008, the U.N. estimated that it would require funds of $30 billion a year to provide clean, accessible, drinking water to the entire planet while in the previous year, the world spent $90 billion on bottled water

Here in the state of Guanajuato, surface water is being depleted from overuse and deep groundwater is being pumped to the surface. This deep groundwater is more than 10,000 years old and has been in contact with subsurface volcanic rock which has increased its concentration of fluoride, arsenic and sodium to unacceptable levels. This water is already being consumed in several communities of San Miguel, Dolores Hidalgo and San Diego de la Union. Its use is spreading and is seriously affecting the health of the population.

Cesar Arias of the Charco del Ingenio and Atahualpa Caldera Sosa of GAIA, Grupo de Acción Interdisciplinaria Ambiental discuss this situation and the struggles to find solutions.