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Manhattan Institute

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Is Climate Change Really the Cause of Mexico City's Water Problems?

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Is Climate Change Really the Cause of Mexico City's Water Problems?

NewGeography March 10, 2017
Urban PolicyInfrastructure & Transportation
Energy & EnvironmentClimate

A couple weeks ago the New York Times ran a gigantic front-page Sunday article by architecture critic Michael Kimmelman on Mexico City’s water crisis.

This piece was billed as the first installment in a series on the effect of climate change on cities. Which is a head-scratcher, since Mexico City’s problems don’t seem to have anything to do with that.

Mexico City is a megacity of 21.2 million people, making it roughly the size of greater New York. It’s also a mile and a half above sea level on a former lake bed in a valley among the surrounding mountains. So it’s at a significantly higher elevation than even Denver.

This creates huge problems. A gigantic city has huge water needs. At high elevation, using a gravity feed for water is complicated to say the least. This necessitates costly pumping to delivery water from remote sources. The city is surrounded by mountains making even drainage complex. Much of the city’s water supply has come from its own ground water, and the city is sinking from the subsidence as a result of pumping.

And of course Mexico and its capital are in the developing world, and so do not have....

Read the entire piece here at NewGeography

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Aaron M. Renn is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal. Follow him on Twitter here.

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