Mexico has an abundance of water and yet millions die every year from a lack of access to safe water and inadequate sanitation. This is due to a complex range of factors including uneven rainfall, deforestation, poverty and little or no independent regulation of public utilities.
It is estimated that 18 million people live in extreme poverty and 75% per cent of the population live in areas where they have access to only 20% of the country’s water. At the same time, there is little public awareness of the value of water, and 40% of domestic water is lost through leakage or waste. Mexico City has one of the largest populations in the world, of approximately 21 million, but there is huge inequality in the supply of water: those in the Mexico Metropolitan Area get a daily amount of 500 litres per capita, while those on low-incomes receive barely 30 litres per capita.
Large numbers of people live in marginalised communities, as the result of the failure of rural development and the increase in urban migration and often they are not provided with the basic services. During times when water availability is reduced, those in poor areas, whether urban or rural, are the last to be supplied due to difficulty of access to their settlements.