On March 22nd, the UN celebrates World Water Day. A celebration to highlight the importance of this resource. The theme this year is “Nature for Water” which focuses on the preservation of ecosystems as a way to ensure access to water for everyone.
Planet Earth is home to 2.1 billion people who do not have access to a source of clean water. In addition, contamination and scarcity are hitting hard on a growing number of communities worldwide. California, Cape Town, Mexico City and other areas are experiencing a water shortage. Even worse, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
In the Yucatan Peninsula, we have a large aquifer system, water is abundant and not so hard to find. Yucatan is mainly formed by limestone, which dissolves and erodes; allowing water to get to the subsoil, forming enormous rivers below the surface.
The system of underground rivers that runs along the peninsula is more than enough to meet the demand of the local population. Unfortunately, the nature of the soil makes these rivers are also subject to pollution, destruction, and depletion.
The growing population in the Riviera Maya has put this fragile system under a lot of pressure. Water problems in the region are mainly due to:
- The destruction of natural absorption zones (jungle), and excessive use of non-porous materials such as concrete.
- Pollution of underground rivers, through the injection of raw sewage directly into the subsoil; and the use of chemicals that end up filtering into our only source of drinking water.
- The excessive use of water, which depletes these rivers and increases the concentration of pollutants in it.
World Water Day – How can you contribute day-to-day to preserve our ecosystems
While it is difficult to control these factors, there are many things we can do at home:
- Avoid covering the garage or the patio of the house with concrete, use porous materials such as gravel to allow the passage of rainwater to the aquifer.
- Investigate where the gray and black waters of your house are going. Many houses in the Riviera Maya connect directly to the subsoil via sumideros or septic tanks. This allows the sewage of thousands of houses to be deposited in the aquifer.
- Replace your “sumidero” with a biodigester, they are economical and allow you to treat the wastewater before returning it to the aquifer.
- Limit the use of detergents, soaps, shampoos and other hygiene items. Look for biodegradable and environmentally friendly alternatives, in general vinegar can replace many modern cleaners and is economical and safe.
- Avoid excessive use of water at home: repair leaks, try to use the gray water for your garden, do not water the sidewalks, water your garden at night to avoid excessive evaporation, etc.
- While these small changes will not dramatically affect our daily lives, multiplied by thousands can make a difference. Remember that the underground rivers are vital to keep our paradise alive. Without their transparent waters, we would lose the beautiful color of our beaches! Start celebrating World Water Day by taking care of it!
Read our latest blog entry: 3 Ideal Destinations to Spend the Easter Holidays in the Riviera Maya