Report: Mexico's Drinking Water Largely Contaminated

Aug. 14, 2000

In a recent report, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) classified drinking water in most regions of Mexico as strongly or excessively contaminated.

One-third of gastrointestinal problems suffered by Mexicans could be caused by water supplies contaminated by feces, the study said. In the southern state of Oaxaca, 54 of every 100,000 inhabitants died because of bad water.

Old drainage and water distribution systems at least 500 years old may be the cause of the poor water quality, the OECD said. "Mexico's hydraulic engineering dates back to pre-Hispanic times," it said, citing Mexico City.

One major problem Mexico faces in the 21st century is a scarcity of water, environmentalists say. More than half of the nation's land is arid and unproductive. The problem is exacerbated when most of the water is available is largely undrinkable.

The OECD said Mexico needs huge investments in water treatment and distribution to support a growing population.

(Source: Reuters News Service)

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