LT-Mexico-WaterCut 1stLd-Writethru 02-01 Web

Mexico City rations water

Mexico City shut down a main water pipeline under a new conservation program, cutting service to more than 2 million residents Sunday after some reservoirs dropped to their lowest levels in 16 years.

The Mexico City government and the National Water Commission will interrupt service for three days every month until May, when the rainy season begins.

Even before this weekend, some residents have had virtually no running water because of the poor condition of their pipes.

City water pipes are so leaky, experts estimate 40 percent of drinking water is lost, and nearly all Mexico City’s abundant rainfall simply flows into sewage drains.


Officials say they have no choice: An unusually dry rainy season last year left the city’s Cutzamala water system, comprising seven reservoirs, at 63 percent capacity compared to 85 percent in previous years, according to a Mexico City government news release. The system supplies 25 percent of the metropolitan area’s water.

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