Water challenges for Mexico City

Since we started Waterstink back in January 2009 there’s been an absolute explosion of high quality documentary material on YouTube and other sources. Given we’re getting back into producing our own video content, it seems timely to add a ‘curated content’ category to our blog to highlight, from time to time, some of the best water videos made by other people.

We kick off this new slice of water-related, curated content here with a fascinating 9-minute overview of water challenges faced by megacity, Mexico City, made by The Daily Conversation (TDC) on YouTube. This particular selection was inspired by my recent trip to the WRI in Washington DC, USA, where I met staff from WRI’s Mexico office (until 2016, EMBARQ; Spanish language website here). Challenges of subsidence in Mexico City came up in discussion, and how this was regularly breaking water pipes and other infrastructure, causing leakage, and other problems. TDC’s short video explains what’s going on, in the context of the city’s development.

I really like the fact that the video delves back into history. TDC traces Mexico City’s modern day status as ‘the largest city on Earth without direct access to a significant body of water‘ back to show this ‘wasn’t always the case‘. The video describes the area 700 years ago, when Mexico City did not exist, and the settlement instead was Tenochtitlan, ‘an island in the middle of a lake, in a vast valley, more than 2,000 meters above sea level, hundreds of kilometers from the nearest coast … a thriving capital city, the heartbeat of the Aztec empire with 300,000 souls… [a] labyrinth of canals dividing a network of manmade islands‘, reminiscent, to Europeans, of Venice.

With that little bit of intro, here’s the actual video:

NB. TDC has provided a full transcript in the description box for the video. Separately, the source for the B&W public domain featured image is here.

Duncan Thomas

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