The core of Caminos de Agua´s work is defined by the boundaries of the Independence Watershed region - seven municipalities, connected by water, in northern Guanajuato. By concentrating on water problems in our region, we create local solutions that are often applicable in other watersheds and can lead to constructive international collaborations.
WATER CONTAMINATION IN THE INDEPENDENCE
The Independence Watershed region has struggled with water for decades; especially in rural, small-scale farming regions. With the advent of tube well technology, the region began drilling wells and extracting water at unsustainable rates, beginning in the late 1940s. By 1983, the Independence Aquifer, which lies just below the watershed, was found to be in decline: the rate of extraction exceeded the recharge rate from rain and surface water. Today, the aquifer is considered to be in a permanent state of decline.
This water decline not only increases water scarcity, but concentrates naturally existing metals and minerals (that are found in the lower, fractured, section of the aquifer) to toxic levels. Specifically, arsenic and fluoride levels have been found to exceed both national and international limits throughout the watershed. Fluoride, illustrated to the right, has been found at levels more than 12 times the allowable limit in some communities.