In Mexico, the water crisis is growing increasingly severe each year, with millions of people lacking decent and secure water access. More than 10 million Mexicans do not have access to water services. In Mexico City alone, at least 250,000 people live without connection to the network and millions more have an intermittent service or receive contaminated water. Every time Mexico City suffers from severe flooding, the drains are flooded with enormous amounts of rainwater. In Mexico City, 70% of the water that is used comes from aquifers directly underneath the city. The extraction has been so extreme that the city has sunk more than 10 metres in the last 100 years! Mexico City is ranked third in the list of major world cities facing extreme water stress. This is because they extract from the aquifers and rivers, much more water than is naturally recharged. If they maintain this trend, the sources will cease to exist in the not too distant future.

However, with a rainwater harvesting system, a family can benefit from a sustainable source of water during part, or all of the year. A rainwater system can supply a large quantity of water and supply a family for 5 – 12 months of the year. With good design, the water can be used for all household uses, even to drink! With rainwater harvesting, instead of contaminating and saturating the drainage system, people could use this water to fill cisterns! Harvesting the rain when it falls on roofs, enables individuals to reduce the amount of water needed to pump out of the aquifers, slowing and perhaps eventually stopping the sinking of the city.

In this session, we will talk with David Vargas, the Founder and President of Isla Urbana, which is a non-profit based in Mexico City that seeks to detonate a large-scale adoption of rainwater harvesting systems in Mexican urban and rural households, schools, and health clinics as a response to the water crisis. Isla Urbana Foundation`s mission is to ensure a future with access to clean water by implementing rainwater harvesting in low income communities across communities in Mexico.


Key Questions

What are the causes of the water shortage in Mexico City?

What are the effects of the water shortage on Mexico City and its residents?

What is water harvesting and how does it work?

How can a water shortage be addressed in an equitable manner without damaging the environment?

How can water be made more affordable and accessible to rural and impoverished communities?

Expected Outcomes

What a water crisis is.

How to address environmental and social issues equitably. 

What causes waters shortages.

The effects of water shortages.

Barriers to access to clean water for certain communities.

What water harvesting is and how it works.


Curriculum Alignment

Completed Date

 03/29/2017 1:00 PM   Eastern Time




World Affairs Council Dfw World Affairs Council of DFW




Joseph Benvenga CASE HIGH
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Grade 6 To 8   Grade 9 To 12  
Career Clusters
Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources  
No. of Students
Not Available  
Water Crisis and Rainwater Harvesting in Mexico City
Sub Topic
Not Available  
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