Tijuana-Rosarito Baja California to ration water supply for the next two months

Roughly 140,000 households and business in the border cities will go without water service for up to 36 hours every four days

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Starting Monday, authorities in Tijuana and Rosarito will ration water for the next two months because of a limited supply, according to the Baja California Public Service Commission.

Roughly 140,000 households and businesses in the border cities will go without water service for up to 36 hours every four days. The service disruptions will be spread throughout seven districts. Customers will receive a 24-hour notice whenever water services are shut off in their district, officials said.

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Homes, businesses, and industries will be equally affected, although, in tourist areas such as Zona Río and Centro, the water cutoff will be scheduled during the week to avoid weekends when there is a greater visitor influx.

Under this unprecedented measure, all the neighborhoods of both Tijuana and Rosarito will eventually be affected, a shift from previous rations which restricted services to the same areas.

Rigoberto Laborín Valdez, who recently began his term as director of the Baja California Public Service Commission, or CESPT, asked the community to reduce its water consumption and help the cause.

“There’s no reason to be alarmed,” he said during a news conference. “I´ ‘m just asking for a little bit of patience to get back on track.”

Maurel Sierra Cruz, who oversees sanitation with CESPT, said conservation is essential.

“The community must understand that we are not in a time when we can be watering our yards or washing the car with a hose, and we cannot take a 20- minute shower,” he said. “We just can’t do that.”

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What caused the water shortage?

A number of factors have contributed to the shortage, officials said.

The water level in the El Carrizo Dam — which stores water from the Rio Colorado aqueduct — is too low.

“If the water levels in the dam are not enough, it can’t provide the water treatment plant with the volume it needs to treat the water,” Sierra Cruz said.

Tijuana needs close to 5,000 liters per second, but the water treatment plant is only receiving about 4,180. That’s why several neighborhoods in Tijuana are currently without water, authorities said.

In addition, two of five pumps in the Colorado River aqueduct system broke down. One has been repaired.

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Most people were not aware they needed to conserve, Sierra Cruz said.

CESPT said it was forced to take drastic measures to help restore the dam to proper water levels as soon as possible to avoid further problems.

“(This) will allow us to first get the 5,000 liters needed and then, have enough water for next summer, otherwise, we will be in this situation again,” he said.

Alejandra Pineda, a resident of Lomas de Santa Fe in Tijuana, has suffered water shortages since late October for periods of up to five days. Her biggest concern was that she was not told of the shutoff, which left her unable to plan.

She was forced to buy water through “piperos“, those who sell water privately.

Since she couldn’t figure out when the water would come back she twice paid for the private water. First, she spent 36 pesos for two buckets, and the second time 67 pesos for a water drum and three buckets.

“Oh, well, it’s a vital liquid so there’s no other choice but to pay,” she said.

She was pleased the shutoffs will be implemented equally in all neighborhoods since hers had more frequent shutoffs.

“I think it’s very wise, and it can create conditions for the community to raise awareness and save water,” she said.

Martin Dominguez recently moved from Mexico City to Tijuana and feels frustrated with the situation since the shutoffs are expected to last so long. But he said he’s not angry since there is “nothing else to do” and the measure seems necessary. “They have to do what they have to do,” the Puesta del Sol resident said.

Source: Baja California Public Service Commission, cespt

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