Mexico City residents face huge water scarcity issues. In fact, eight million people living in the country’s capital suffer from inadequate water supply. Sometimes this means going months without access to tap water. But rainwater harvesting projects from Isla Urbana, a collaborative effort between NGOs the International Renewable Resources Institute (IRRI) and TEMO Foundation, could be a low-cost and efficient solution to the problem. The team is made up of engineers, urbanists and many others who are working with local communities, businesses and non-profits to develop a water harvesting “revolution.” Could this be a sustainable solution that really does help? Isla Urbana believes it can.


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Collecting rainwater is not a new technological development, but that is what makes it a viable option and possible for widespread implementation. These rainwater harvesting (RWH) systems are made from low-cost local materials, easily installed and maintained, and can provide a family with about 50% of their annual need, according to Isla Urbana. Beneficiaries of the systems are also taught how to maintain them to make the entire project all the more self-sufficient.

In Mexico City part of the issue is that 70% of the water supply comes from the grossly over-exploited aquifer of the valley of Mexico. A further 20% is pumped from over 125 kilometers away which uses a huge amount of energy. Isla Urbana claims the RWH systems could provide the city with 30% of their water supply. So far the team has installed over 1,000 systems. It would be great to see such an easy and community-based project widely used in other places where it is desperately needed.

+ Isla Urbana

Images courtesy of Isla Urbana