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Once again, Tijuana runs out of water

Neighbors try to help each other

People supplied their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters. - Image by Luis Gutierrez
People supplied their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters.

The National Water Commission declared a state of emergency due to a drought that has hurt five states in Mexico. Baja California is on the list.

One month ago an outage in the El Carrizo Damn, which stores water extracted from the Colorado affected its pumping machines. Tijuana’s local government deployed cut-offs in the residential water system to manage the reduction in the damn water.

The rationing of water is taking place all around the city, including the outskirts, downtown, and Playas de Tijuana. For Oscar Alvarado who lives about 12 miles east of Tijuana’s downtown in the Estadio Toros neighborhood, these cut-offs increased during the pandemic and haven’t stopped since.

“You woke up ready to start the day, you want to take a shower, you think the water is flowing, and then nothing. It ruins your whole day. Can’t do the most basic stuff like cleaning your house. A friend of mine had to install a water cistern in his house because cut-offs were so frequent in his area”. In Tijuana, tap water is not for human consumption as in San Diego. So people supply their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters each or smaller bottles. This is the usual way to deal with it, using that water to drink, flush the toilet, do dishes, clean the house, do laundry, cook, or for personal hygiene.

Oscar said that of course neighbors have helped each other when this happens, especially older people. “I’ve seen people who store water in tanks sharing buckets of it with neighbors next door. Right now we just have a small water stream coming out of the tap, but then we can be out of it for the next two o three days straight.”

Out on the east side of the city where usually the water system infrastructure is less developed, in areas like Playas de Tijuana in the middle-high classed complex of Punta Bandera, inhabitants are struggling with the water situation. They use drinking bottled water to replace it with regular tap water for all their activities. But the case of Elena Flores, who lives in a private neighborhood and her neighbors is a little different because the complex has attempted to have its own sewer and pipe system to provide and treat their waste; even they are having serious problems to get water to supply their water cistern.

“Because we don’t have water we buy disposable cookware which is not good, but we found no other way” She explained. “Then we have this terrible smell of stagnated water or sewers everywhere”. Elena notes that they have no water for half of the month and they think moving out of the neighborhood is their only way to avoid this situation.

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People supplied their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters. - Image by Luis Gutierrez
People supplied their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters.

The National Water Commission declared a state of emergency due to a drought that has hurt five states in Mexico. Baja California is on the list.

One month ago an outage in the El Carrizo Damn, which stores water extracted from the Colorado affected its pumping machines. Tijuana’s local government deployed cut-offs in the residential water system to manage the reduction in the damn water.

The rationing of water is taking place all around the city, including the outskirts, downtown, and Playas de Tijuana. For Oscar Alvarado who lives about 12 miles east of Tijuana’s downtown in the Estadio Toros neighborhood, these cut-offs increased during the pandemic and haven’t stopped since.

“You woke up ready to start the day, you want to take a shower, you think the water is flowing, and then nothing. It ruins your whole day. Can’t do the most basic stuff like cleaning your house. A friend of mine had to install a water cistern in his house because cut-offs were so frequent in his area”. In Tijuana, tap water is not for human consumption as in San Diego. So people supply their need for drinking water with vessels of 20 liters each or smaller bottles. This is the usual way to deal with it, using that water to drink, flush the toilet, do dishes, clean the house, do laundry, cook, or for personal hygiene.

Oscar said that of course neighbors have helped each other when this happens, especially older people. “I’ve seen people who store water in tanks sharing buckets of it with neighbors next door. Right now we just have a small water stream coming out of the tap, but then we can be out of it for the next two o three days straight.”

Out on the east side of the city where usually the water system infrastructure is less developed, in areas like Playas de Tijuana in the middle-high classed complex of Punta Bandera, inhabitants are struggling with the water situation. They use drinking bottled water to replace it with regular tap water for all their activities. But the case of Elena Flores, who lives in a private neighborhood and her neighbors is a little different because the complex has attempted to have its own sewer and pipe system to provide and treat their waste; even they are having serious problems to get water to supply their water cistern.

“Because we don’t have water we buy disposable cookware which is not good, but we found no other way” She explained. “Then we have this terrible smell of stagnated water or sewers everywhere”. Elena notes that they have no water for half of the month and they think moving out of the neighborhood is their only way to avoid this situation.

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