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How is the water quality in Mérida, Yucatán?

- June 11, 2024

Mérida consumes more than 120 million liters of drinking water per day

The water that is distributed in Mérida comes mainly from deep wells that extract water from the subsoil, the peninsular aquifer, which is one of the largest natural reserves of fresh water that exist in the world, and extends throughout the Yucatán peninsula. This water contains many minerals and salts, so the water that is consumed in Mérida is very hard.

To understand the magnitude of the hardness of the water of the Yucatán Peninsula, we must start by knowing what the subsoil is like.

The subsoil of Yucatán is very peculiar, since it is formed by limestone rocks that dissolve with rainwater and create caves, caverns and cenotes. For this reason, the rainwater that filters, traps a large part of the salts and minerals of this limestone.

For this reason, it is very common that the showers, tanks and pipes are clogged by the salts. In addition, it is not advisable to drink water directly from the tap, since it contains many salts.

Yucatán has a lot of water, but most of it is contaminated

The cenotes of the peninsula, in their vast majority, are interconnected forming underground rivers that are very important for biodiversity, culture and water supply in the region.

However, they also face some problems, such as overexploitation, and above all pollution.

The various sources of pollution come from pig farms, wastewater, pesticides, sunscreens and garbage. It is very sad to see that many of the cenotes that are near the towns or cities are used by the same inhabitants as garbage dumps.

According to some studies, 83% of the cenotes monitored in Yucatán have some degree of contamination, mainly by fecal coliforms of animal and human origin.

Again, due to the soil of the peninsula, it is very difficult and expensive to build drains, for this reason most of the houses in Mérida drain the water from the bathrooms in septic tanks, so that all human waste goes to the subsoil contaminating the water. This has been going on for decades and is far from being solved.

Fortunately, in the new real estate developments, wastewater treatment plants are already being implemented.

The control of the water quality of Mérida

The JAPAY is the governmental body in charge of the administration of water in Yucatán, which carries out a constant monitoring of the quality of the water that it supplies to the population, following the official Mexican standards and international standards. For this, it has a central laboratory and 16 mobile laboratories, where different physical, chemical and biological parameters of water are analyzed, such as pH, turbidity, residual chlorine, coliforms, nitrates, heavy metals, among others.

The challenges of the water quality of Mérida

Despite the advances and achievements in the management of drinking water in Mérida, there are also some challenges and challenges that must be faced to guarantee the quality and availability of the water resource. Among them are:

The overexploitation of the peninsular aquifer, which can cause the decrease of the water level, the increase of salinity, the intrusion of seawater and the contamination by human activities.

The demographic and urban growth, which implies a greater demand for drinking water and a greater generation of wastewater, which require adequate treatment and final disposal.

The lack of awareness and culture of water, which is reflected in waste, misuse, excessive consumption and lack of citizen participation in water care.

Recommendations

As mentioned before, the hard water of Yucatán will clog your showers, faucets and pipes, for this reason it is highly recommended to install a water softener.

  • Install a water purifier
  • Never drink water directly from the tap
  • Buy bottled water for your consumption and food preparation
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