While heavy in mineral content and requiring filters, Merida’s tap water is the most affordable in the world, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Even compared with the rest of Mexico, which has one of the lowest water rates, Merida’s taps run cheap.
Mexico households on average pay US$0.49 for each cubic meter of water, which compares with Denmark’s US$6.40 rate. Merida beats the national average by 13 cents per cubic meter. That means for every thousand liters, they pay only 3.7 pesos, or US$0.18).
The Board of Drinking Water and Sewerage of Yucatan (JAPAY) spends millions to produce the water that reaches our homes, writes La Jornada Maya.
In 2017, the state paid 50 million pesos to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE); in 2018, 100 million pesos and “in 2019, 110 million are estimated,” said Felipe Ramírez Burgos, head of the Department of Continuous Improvement and Training at JAPAY.
Ramírez Burgos discussed “How much does it cost to bring water to your home?” at Water Forum organized by the Alianza Francesa.
“To this we must add the payment of 200 million pesos to employees: administrative, plumbers, technicians and chemists, among others, and 100 million more that are used in chlorine and other chemical materials, as well as vehicles for service and attention,” said Ramírez Burgos.
JAPAY has 219 supply wells, of which 158 operate, with 57 reserve, six auxiliaries and four out of service, delivering 5,229 liters per second.
“To get an idea of the amount we are talking about, suffice it to say that a household tinaco contains approximately 500 liters, so per second 10 tinacos are produced for a million inhabitants of Merida and its surroundings,” he said. “It is estimated that each person uses about 200 liters per day of the vital liquid.”
“It is very cheap, considering what people pay for the service they are given, because it is a water that can be drunk, hygienic, checked all the time by our chemists,” said the official.
Later he added that, “sadly, the entire JAPAY computer technical system is very obsolete, which was not updated in the last administrations,” he continued. “There is a system called GIS, Geographic Information System, through which the map of all drinking water lines in the city of Merida should theoretically appear, but there are only 25 percent registered, it is not really known on a map where the complete pipeline exists.”
The pipeline has countless leaks. The drinking water system is so old that when one leak is repaired, water pressure increases causing ruptures in other places, he admitted.
“There are many millions of liters of water that are produced per second, but only a percentage reaches homes because a lot of drinking water is being wasted along the way,” he said.
Source: La Jornada Maya