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May 19, 2009, 10:01 AM

Post #1 of 5 (5910 views)


Water problems in Oaxaca & mercury contamination in Ocotlan

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I'm about to resettle in Oaxaca City, possibly Ocotlan de Morelos, but am researching the water situation and outlook in both places, as well as news of significant mercury contamination in mines, water, and agricultural land close to Ocotlan de Morelos. If you live in Oaxaca, please share information about how many times per week municipal water is turned on, and the routine for buying water from vendors that pass by the neighborhood. I plan to rent an apartment, and assume I will need to know this information.

Hound Dog

May 19, 2009, 11:09 AM

Post #2 of 5 (5898 views)


Re: [Yaxchibonam] Water problems in Oaxaca & mercury contamination in Ocotlan

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OK, Yaxchibonam:

I am not a resident of Oaxaca City but San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas but I do spend a bit of time in and around Oaxaca City. A couple of thoughts if I may:

Ocotlan de Morelos is not that close to Oaxaca de Juarez and even if it were, they constitute two very different municipal water districts. While I have been to Ocotlan I know nothing about its municipal services but I do know something about water delivery problems in Oaxaca City.

There are some serious and ongoing problems with the municipal water supply in Oaxaca City. I would be quite concerned about those problems if I were buying a home there. If you are renting, at least your problems may be transitory. Look around among folks you may meet in Oaxaca City to establish what your water supply problems may be before you make any serious commitments. Only buy there if you speak passable Spanish and even then be cautious.

Our experience in San Cristóbal demonstrates the complications you may be facing down the road in Oaxaca City. We had no knowledge of municipal water problems or the lack thereof when we bought a home in the historic center of San Cristóbal and only became acquainted with those problems upon living in that home over a couple of years and that is the way of life in Mexico - especially Southern Mexico.

Let´s talk about specifics. At our home in Ajijic on the shores of Lake Chapala, water is delivered by the city 24 hours a day. Therefore, we use water directly from the municipal water wells to water our garden and water delivered to our cistern for our own personal use. When we bought the Chiapas house, we installed garden water lines directly fed by the municipality for watering our garden and another line to fill our underground cistern (aljibe) for our use. Now, get this. Nobody but nobody informed us at the time we came up with this configuration that it made no sense since the municipality of San Cristóbal only feeds water to residences in the early morning hours between 1:00AM and 4:00AM therefore we could not water our garden during the day from pipes directly fed from the city.

Do you get my drift here? No one told us this. They simply followed our instructions and there you have it. Useless piping from the street unless I want to presume I know when that nocturnal water supply comes on and get up in the middle of the night to water my garden.

Now, we have had other serious problems with the municipal water supply in San Cristóbal but let´s not go there.

I can tell you that the city of Oaxaca supplies its hotels and other commercial establishments while denying water to resdential customers and the city is infamous for that. Beware and act accordingly.

As for conatamination of water supplies with various minrals and chemicals. Buy and drink only commercially available "purified" water and never drink water from the tap - EVER! Buy water from commercial purified water vendors and even then keep you fingers crossed. Purified water sold to residents in San Cristóbal by the Coca Cola company ,of all people, made many people sick in Chiapas. Trust only God and even then carry an umbrella when you venture out into a thunderstorm.

(This post was edited by Hound Dog on May 19, 2009, 11:23 AM)


May 19, 2009, 8:54 PM

Post #3 of 5 (5862 views)


Re: [Yaxchibonam] Water problems in Oaxaca & mercury contamination in Ocotlan

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Water supplies in Mexico are questionable, as you already know.

Part of the problem is that you get what you pay for. In Mexico, it is common for people not to pay their modest water bill, because the municipality will not shut off water for nonpayment. This leaves the utilities underfunded. I have even read cases where the utility does not have enough money to pay the electric bill to run their pumps.

Just recently, large areas of Mexico city were without water for several days due to maintenance. The Mexican systems are apparently engineered with no redundancy; in the US, you can shut the valves at each end of a line for repairs, as there is almost always another feed to a given area. I heard someone speak about our local Colorado water system with respect to terrorism and sabotage, and they concluded that the system was so redundant that it would be very difficult to successfully attack.

As our friend from Chiapas has explained, Mexican water systems are not all equal.

I would note that even bottled water is not 100% safe; I have seen Mexican TV reporters show that some bottled water is not filled in a hygienic manner, or worse, comes from a contaminated well. I have even heard of someone sending out city water and bottled water to a lab, and discovering that the city water had less bacteria.


Brigitte Ordoquy

May 20, 2009, 10:00 AM

Post #4 of 5 (5847 views)


Re: [raferguson] Water problems in Oaxaca & mercury contamination in Ocotlan

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Great input, Richard:

You should appreciate this story:

When we were last In San Criostóbal, the city turned off the municipal water supply. Let me re-phrase that event. The city claimed that CFE cut off their electricity thereby rendering their pumps inopperable and making it impossible to deliver water since it is illegal for the water suppliers to cut off water on their own since access to water is a guaranteed right for all folks in Mexico whether or not they pay for it if you get my drift.

Well, anyway, there we were without water and the word came down that the disenfranchised folks inhabiting the hillside favellas that conspicuously surround the city of San Cristóbal had failed to pay their water bills for years but the reality was that it was the hotels and large commercial establishments that had failed to pay they bills and not the peasants up the hill.

So they told us and everyone else to order water trucks from private vendors to fill aljibes and tenacos and then it turns out the water truck companies were delivering non-potable - actually filthy disease ridden agua negra - to homeowners and that created quite a scandal but who in power gives a sh*t really and here here is what else you must remember if you want to live here and continue to be alive:

You cannot and must not trust anybody because they will f***k you in a moment and that will be your problem. Kimo Sabe.

(This post was edited by Brigitte Ordoquy on May 20, 2009, 10:07 AM)


Jun 11, 2009, 7:50 PM

Post #5 of 5 (5728 views)


Re: [Brigitte Ordoquy] Water problems in Oaxaca & mercury contamination in Ocotlan

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Ouch, my oh my.
Seems there are some difficulties that I have yet to experience.
I am relatively new actually so I have plenty of time to get f**cked I guess, Kimo Sabe!
Two years into this and I have yet to be bent over and driven home.Why?
I have no guns, no dogs, no guards to beat back the hethen mobs after my health.
Be realistic please, oppurtunists pray on the nieve and ignorant.
City water is not reliable true, bottled water on the cheap is not reliable.
I treat all my water, period.
Pay the price for ethical vendors and you will receive the product you want.
The darkside of any society is there for you if you chose it, be wary of your weaknesses if you should decide to come down that path.
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