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Re: article about La Manzanilla´s water supply

Posted by Brian Johnson on June 14, 2008, 11:46 pm, in reply to "article about La Manzanilla´s water supply"

This is as close as I can get. But I think the sentiment is clear though.

Chaotic growth is a risk for one of the most dynamic (populated) areas of the Jalisco coast. Situated on the edge of a vast territory dominated by seasonal (or dry) forests, with normal rainfall amounts of less than 600 millimeters annually, the real estate development which has ben unleashed in La Manzanilla will soon present the predicament of a water shortage. Deforestation, at one of the highest rates in the country (3% annually) and out of control consumer patterns explain the imminent crisis. “It is nearly the end of the water in the shallower layers, everything that is from waterwheels, and it has been necessary to bring water from deeper zones, up to 80 meters”, explained don Leopoldo Loza, the person in charge of the water and sewer systems.

The community water supply, hit by a tsunami in 1995 - violence which seems to have brought notoriety to your dream beaches, that since then are constantly more heavily visited by foreigners -, has also been made more precarious by the increasing salinity of the wells (the phenomenon of salt intrusion), but furthermore, it is the strong competition for the resource.

While the number of farms in this prosperous area is increasing, the neighboring exclusive development El Tamarindo, located on the other side of the mountains that frame the bay, uses wells from this basin to irrigate their golf course and their demanding ‘first world’ consumption.

Already in the past La Manzanilla residents have had to confront those powerful interests, and succeeded.

The Water Shortage Threatens the Future of La Manzanilla, La Huerta.
Augstín del Castillo (marco a. vargas)

Leopoldo Loza, who is responsible, [ for the water system] sees a difficult picture, for example, when it rains only once or twice per week from July to October.

- How long has it been since you have seen the ‘good years’?
- The last one was 1998; since then, like, seven years of drought.
Morgan says that if one adds the increasing population to these environmental factors the situation will worsen. “Well, every day we are more people; we all need water, and if here in the village they apply fines, perhaps it would make more[...] all of the people who live there and are throwing water on the street because of the dust, well, the streets are dirt...”.
As if it were nothing, there are the privileged who are exempt from paying for [water] service. “Recently they told me to charge the Jehova’s Witnesses, but look, it’s not fair, Why doesn’t the [Catholic] Church pay, it should be the same for everyone.
Don Leopoldo fears for the future, and although it seems strange, he would prefer that it would be Tamarindo that would buy Ejido land that comes for sale through time. (Público, May 18, 2008) “ Tamarindo continues to want to buy land to secure its reserves, We, [ in the Ejido] have a lot of land, a fence that is being sold above [...] I say to Ejido members that we agree to sell to Tamarindo because they are not going to over-develop, they are already established; if we sell to someone else, they are going to need water, and we have nowhere from which to give it to them.
And if you add to this dilemma the very real possibility of a return to drought conditions, the zone would collapse in a very short time. “ I think, based on my experience, that if doesn’t rain this year and next, even with severe rationing, we would have enough water for some four years. But no more than that. pP ... concerning monthly expense, if we swallow it there will be another cost, that’s why I always give eight hours of water per day, that’s enough”.
- You don’t believe that the output of the wells is decreasing because of the deforestation?
- uh... yes, very much so [...] there is a village called Los Ingenios, on the other side of the highway, where most of the people are in the business of cutting palm wood for houses. And with, or without permission, the trees get cut, and the damage is done.
- In the last twelve years have you noticed changes in the refilling of the water.
- Yes, the levels have gone down a lot, and the rains as well [...] [but] this past year the cap layers were filled due to some heavy rains, three and four day rains. Record rains even for the good years.
[Several paragraphs follow with statistics on 1721 cars failing their emission control checks, 570 forest fires consuming 21,729 hectares of Jalisco forest, broken down into categories of types and ages of trees burned)

The article goes on to say:
City and Region Editor: Jorge Valdivia G. (

... to reclaim the main well for the water supply of the old fishing village.
If that wasn’t enough, the National Water Commission (CNA) doesn’t want to grant title to the water concession, then the government had supposedly left it with the system, which is a risk because if they were to take away the funding it could cause the financial collapse of the system. Don Leopoldo, known as ‘Morgan’ to the Ejido members points out that following the increasing [consumption] tendencies and the extractions nearly outside of the zone there will be an inevitable shortage. ‘ Look at this pump, and that one, and that one we have over there [in another well], is it enough water for now, I don’t know, a year, maybe two...”.
La Manzanilla has a thousand water users and around three thousand inhabitants. Only 60% pay their bills,...” others fall behind and are going to pay later, and sometimes this is a problem because all of the [collected] money gets spent, on maintenance, chlorination, electricity for the pumps [...] I’ve been at this for twelve years and I’ve never had to borrow a cent, it’s made us have to produce”, Morgan said proudly.
But they are going to have to pay something. “ We have just had an increase, we’ve reached 35 pesos per month, but it was previously 120 pesos for a whole year, and if everyone would have paid, I believe it would have been enough; but like there are people who are three or four years behind, well they can’t [...] the biggest expense is energy, we have bump in the road...
Sunday, June 8, 2008 Público


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