Can We Prevent Day Zero?

This month, a Caminos de Agua supporter who wishes to remain anonymous will match all donations up to USD $10,000. You can help us double our capacity and not only reach people at risk within San Miguel but our broader watershed as well.

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute

Here in San Miguel, we are often so focused on the presence of arsenic and fluoride in our water, that we overlook the harsh reality one day water may completely run out. The World Resources Institute recently published a jolting study (read article here) that found many states in Mexico are at high risk of reaching Day Zero. That is to say, there will not be enough water to support the needs of people living in these areas.

The State of Guanajuato – particularly the area of our watershed, which includes the municipality of San Miguel de Allende and six others – consumes 80% or more of our available water resources per year, which in turn causes extreme hydraulic stress. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 5 is “Day Zero,” or the point when a given region can completely run out of water, Guanajuato registers at 4.94 – the second-highest in Mexico and among the highest in the world.

It is hard to imagine a day where you turn on your tap and nothing comes out; but, that is the new reality with water infrastructure failing to meet the needs of its citizens around the globe. In Cape Town, South Africa, more than 4 million people recently underwent severe water restrictions due to dwindling water supplies. If immediate local actions are not taken to protect our watershed, it isn’t a question of if, but rather when San Miguel will face a similar scenario.

Exhausting Our Watershed

It is time to start thinking bigger. But first, we must begin to examine what is happening in our watershed. 680,000 people, living in several small to medium-sized cities and more than 2,500 rural communities, share our watershed, which encompasses an area of approximately 6,800 square kilometers. Each year our water table declines 2 to 4 meters. This causes wells to dry up or, in some cases, collapse in on themselves. This is becoming an all too common phenomenon and forces us to go deeper and deeper to reach dwindling water resources. Many communities are already at that point where water has to be transported by vehicles that bring it from neighboring communities or wells.

To ensure a sustainable water source for the future of those that live within our watershed, we must look towards the sky for answers. At Caminos de Agua our long term solution is rainwater harvesting. Rain is an often neglected resource that literally falls on our heads.

Despite being a semi-arid environment, the rain that falls on our watershed is more than enough to meet the water demand of its residents. Caminos de Agua is collaborating with communities to take action. We are building large-scale rainwater harvesting systems for cooking and drinking water and are working with state and local governments, and other partners, to implement solutions, capture rainwater at a larger scale, and promote public policies that will protect and preserve all water resources in our region.

Help Us Prevent Day Zero

These are solvable problems, but it will take time and funding. Your contribution will allow us to expand our reach and bring rainwater harvesting projects to more people throughout our watershed. In the race against the clock to prevent running out of water, our biggest obstacle is our ability to raise money fast enough. Together, let's ensure Day Zero does not become a reality.

Donate here today.

Melissa Landman