Puerto Vallarta’s water infrastructure insufficient for current growth

Puerto Vallarta, considered one of the three most important tourist destinations in Mexico, faces frequent problems of water scarcity due to rapid population growth and the proliferation of apartments, luxury condominiums, and hotels with more than 22,000 rooms.

In the Easter holiday period, with the massive arrival of visitors to one of the main tourist destinations in the country, the situation worsens in popular neighborhoods, which have problems keeping up with the water demand.

However, exclusive areas such as Conchas Chinas and Amapas, as well as central neighborhoods such as Emiliano Zapata, Versalles, and Aramara, have been affected by the reduction in supply since the end of last August, when Hurricane Nora hit the city.

The storm caused more than $60 million pesos of damage to the old and deteriorated network of drainage and drinking water, and in the wells.

In addition, the destruction of the mountains and the jungle, coupled with the indiscriminate looting of sand and gravel in rivers and streams, has exacerbated the scarcity and poor distribution of water.

The Radial well – the main one in the area – located on the Mascota and Ameca rivers, is guarded by elements of the Mexican Navy, after screening companies based in the vicinity, manufacturers of construction blocks, and the Vidanta Hotel Group, have plundered gravel and sand for more than 10 years indiscriminately.

“Puerto Vallarta is suffering from water stress and that should concern us,” warned Gabino Berumen Cervantes, president of the National Coordinator for the Defense of Water and Life AC (Cdayv).

Last Thursday, the Potable Water, Drainage, and Sewerage System of Puerto Vallarta (Seapal) announced measures to safeguard the protected area of ​​the Radial well and the water that is distributed to the families of Buenos Aires.

Seapal warned four screeners that they will be closed if their documents are not in order. He added: “Elements of the Navy and the municipal police of Puerto Vallarta have joined forces to prevent these companies from entering the protected area of ​​the Radial well.”

The water operator reported on March 7 that it will improve the delivery of water “by flooding the Radial well through the creation of a channel to induce the arrival from the Mascota River”, with which the channel will contribute to Vallarta 110 at 150 liters per second.

Javier Orozco Alvarado, leader of the Vallarta chapter of Cdayv, attributed part of the problem to poor planning in the city.

“The lack of water in our municipality is one of the main causes of death from acute respiratory infections, largely related to the proliferation of dust and the absence of green areas. It is also the second leading cause of death for our children between the ages of 10 and 14, due to intestinal infectious diseases,” he stated.

Likewise, he stressed that the high marginality and concentration of Vallartans “are worrying.” He stated that 80 percent of the population lives in the urban area of ​​Vallarta, which lacks adequate transportation and garbage collection services, among other problems; 35 percent suffer from multidimensional poverty and 37 percent are vulnerable due to social deprivation.

Alfredo Jalife, professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, visited the port to offer a talk on the securitization of water on March 11. He noted that water is a human right, but it has become “a weapon: just as there are biological, radioactive, and nuclear weapons, today water is a weapon. You can make the population thirsty, as was done in ancient times. Whoever controls the water in the century will control the planet.”

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