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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Mexico City residents gear up for crucial rainy season

After a welcome end to unprecedented heat waves and drought, Mexico City’s residents now must figure out how to get rainwater to work in their favor and not against them.

MEXICO CITY (CN) — As Mexico City continues to experience multiple unprecedented heat waves, leaving water systems at dangerously low levels, it must now brace itself for hail, lightning and strong winds.

Mexico’s Secretariat for Comprehensive Risk Management and Civil Protection issued a heavy rain warning for at least 10 days starting Tuesday.

The Mexico City rainy season typically lasts between May and September but is late to arrive this year and will be a welcome respite from the heat and drought. The transition between no rain and too much rain isn’t always simple, though.

Mexico City has historically dealt with the double-edged sword of receiving too little rain, then far too much, with the challenge of getting the rain to work in the citizens’ favor and not against them.

Raúl Alejandro Danis Rios, who owns a newspaper stand in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, says he has to protect his stand every afternoon when the rain starts, but there’s only so much he can do.

“The infrastructure of the business always gets damaged, the rug, the tables. The sales always go down too. I lose money when it rains, every week, every year,” Danis Ríos said.

Ernesto Morales Esteban, who owns a convenience store in one of the oldest downtown neighborhoods of Mexico City, says the area lacks the infrastructure to deal with the rainy season.

His store regularly experiences flooding as the sewers become blocked with debris from the street, and the city is not always so quick to help as they lack a systematic way of handling the issue, Morales Esteban says.

“I am prepared this year because I paid for a truck to come and unclog the drain in anticipation of the rain. But I had to pay for it myself, the city does not pay,” he said. “I am hoping that this will work so I don’t have my store flooded for days like has happened in the past.”

The National Meteorological Service has also issued a warning for the first tropical cyclone of the year, which would be named Tropical Storm Alberto if it gains enough strength to be deemed a tropical storm.

It is expected to make landfall Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico, causing heavy rains and high winds in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and Yucatán.

Though heavy rains can negatively affect small businesses around the city, the Mexican government is exploring new ways to take advantage of the rainy season.

On June 14, Martí Batres, the head of government of Mexico City, announced that 2,200 rainwater collection systems have been installed in all of the public junior high and high schools across Mexico City.

“These systems will be a third source of water after the Cutzamala and Lerma water systems, which supply the city with approximately 60% of its water,” Batres said in a press conference in the southern borough of Coyoacán.

“With a good rainy season, we can be very close to one billion liters of rainwater captured per year. That water helps us a lot because we remove pressure from the water system of Mexico City,” he said.

Categories / International, Weather

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