June 1, 2006
Mexico City Metropolitan Area has 20 million inhabitants, with population densities in some areas exceeding 13 500 persons/km2. The provision of water supplies and sanitation services in an efficient, equitable and timely manner presents a formidable management and investment challenges, which simply cannot be met under the existing conditions. The current approach has been almost exclusively on supply management: demand management practices have received inadequate attention. Unless the current management practices change radically, future solutions will require higher investment costs to transport more water from increasingly distant and expensive sources, with serious adverse economic, social and environmental impacts on the exporting regions and higher land subsidence rates in ZMCM due to ever-increasing groundwater withdrawals, among many others factors. It is essential to formulate a long-term integrated management plan, which does not exist at present, and which considers linkages to policies on urban development (an issue basically ignored thus far), migration, industry, energy, public health and environment. It is not an easy task, but, nevertheless, it is an essential one.