Ask A Mexican

This week we asked: Water shortages are an increasing concern across Mexico. Do you ever have to go without water? If so, how often and for how long?

askamex2318.JPGWater taps in Cabo often come up empty and the price to buy water off the trucks can range from $30 to $50 to fill a 211 gallon water tank. Since more than seven years ago, “tandeos” were implemented to manage the water shortages in Los Cabos. Tandeos are rolling water-outs. Lately, these periods of no water delivered to the taps have been getting longer and less water has been reaching some of the communities. The tandeos depend on the nearest water plant of the three in Cabo San Lucas: downtown, Lomas del Sol and the often broken down desalination plant.

Some people believe the water trucks are in cahoots with the water department to intentionally starve us for water in order to enrich the truck companies. But that seems unlikely since the water truckers are an assortment of independent families and individuals. The trucks get the water from wells. They suck the water out of the ground, usually in the arroyos, and truck it around to the neighborhoods.

Are we short of water here in the desert? Yes, of course, but it should be manageable with the frequent rain in the mountains behind us, and the desal plants. Resorts are required to build their own desal plants and all but one golf course is on recycled water.

The problem is a combination of mismanagement and corruption. The pipes are so mismanaged, many homes tap into the pipes and help themselves to free water. And often when it becomes your turn for water delivery, you can tell it’s coming because water bubbles up from underground as the water bursts through the pipes on its way to your home. Large reservoirs in the mountains and efficient pipe infrastructure would go a long way here.

 

1 Adrian Lopez 44, mechanic.

I am fortunate that I live in a neighborhood that has 24/7 water supply, however I am one of the few who can say this. Some of the people I work with have a hard time because water only flows in their area very early in the morning from 5 am to about 6:30 so there is not a lot they can do because the pressure is not enough, their water tanks don’t fill up to more than a quarter. I believe the over population of the hotels and the massive amount of new resorts are to blame, since government keeps on prioritizing them over the local population, and I really would like to see a change in that.

 

2 Julian Romero 43, construction worker.

Tandeos are a huge lie. They say there will be water one day, and there’s not a single drop for two weeks. Back in September someone organized a big strike in front of Oomsapas, (the municipal water department). I didn’t go and I heard no one else did, but the town celebration was full of people who apparently forgot they had no water to shower with. I guess governor thinks we have enough money like him to buy new clothes instead of washing them and that we pee in the backyard and shower with wet wipes, because he knows for a fact we don’t have water, or he plays stupid.

 

3 Maximiliano Esparza 35, security guard.

In my neighborhood we have gone the longest for four days without water, but most of us have a cistern, or underwater tank, because it’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Cabos. And when a neighbor goes without water we have all stepped in and shared our water so they can get by. But let’s think about Palmilla golf course and how green and lush it is or how many tourists shower twice a day and have no problem flushing their resort’s toilets, right? What happens here is that the people who run Los Cabos only care for foreigners, not for people from Cabo.

 

4 Rosario Garcia 56, housekeeper.

We used to get water every 3 days last year, but now we get it every week if we’re lucky. When I went to complain at Oomsapas, the lady told me the desalinization plant had broken down and they were fixing it. I do hope they fix it soon because it is very unhygienic to go so long without water and very dangerous too. My son told me the other day that Oomsapas says the plant broke every vacation season because the golf course he works at gets water every day to keep it green, so maybe he is right and they are just lying to us to keep us kind of happy.

 

5 Daniela Ugarte 27, administrator.

Shortages are a joke and everyone knows it. I have a cistern or underground tank and I don’t suffer from them but everyone else on my block does. We went a whole month with no water flow and the little we had was full of air and very little water, and the receipts came super high, higher than regular. The thing is that there is now so many people in Cabo, we don’t have enough water. And also, there are water leaks around the illegal colonies (squatter camps), where the people have made their own water connections and they burst and waste so much water it’s crazy.

 

6 Alondra Juarez, 43, nanny.

Right now, I have no water and had to call a water truck which charged me $18. to fill my small tank, which will only last a week if I am lucky. The problem here is that the water goes first to the hotels, then to the rich people and they leave the rest of us dry. Also, the water trucks are too expensive and I really believe they are owned by the government, how come there is enough water for the trucks but not for the tanks?