Tijuana Turns to San Diego County for Emergency Water Deliveries
Residents of Tijuana and Rosarito in Mexico have been struggling with spotty water service since last year, and over 600 neighborhoods are currently without running water. The situation has become critical, with the possibility of running out of water looming over the region. In response, the Tijuana State Commission for Public Services (CESPT) has turned to the San Diego County Water Authority for help.
Emergency Water Deliveries from San Diego County
The United States and Mexico have agreements in place that allow for water deliveries during emergencies or severe droughts. As a result, the San Diego County Water Authority began sending water to Tijuana last week.
The main aqueduct that delivers water from the Colorado River to Tijuana has deteriorated, compounding the problem. Repairs are taking longer than expected, and more than 20 kilometers of line have shown problems that need to be addressed, according to CESPT. The city has been forced to cut off water to over 40 percent of the population, and more residents could lose service in the weeks ahead.
The water crisis has made daily life difficult for Tijuana residents. Many, like Arturo Rosas, have experienced constant water outages that can last up to weeks at a time. Rosas expressed his gratitude for the emergency water deliveries from San Diego County, saying that it was amazing to see neighboring countries help each other in times of need.
Cross-Border Water Deliveries
The San Diego County Water Authority has been providing emergency water deliveries to Mexico through a cross-border connection in Otay Mesa for over 50 years. Emergency deliveries are governed by an agreement between the United States and Mexico.
According to Mel Katz, the Water Authority Board Chair, the Water Resources and Operations & Maintenance departments worked quickly to meet the emergency water needs of Tijuana and Rosarito residents. The CESPT has agreed to pay $2.2 million for emergency water through the end of February, and they have already paid over $4 million for water north of the border during the last five months of 2022.
The planned water deliveries are set to restart in April and continue through September 2023, consistent with the previously approved schedule, according to the SDCWA.
The emergency water deliveries from San Diego County have been a lifeline for the residents of Tijuana and Rosarito. The cross-border connection has allowed the United States and Mexico to work together in times of crisis, showcasing the importance of international cooperation. The situation in Tijuana is a stark reminder of the value of having access to clean, safe, and reliable water, and the urgent need to invest in infrastructure to prevent future crises.
As individuals, we can take steps to conserve water in our daily lives and support efforts to improve access to clean water around the world. Every drop counts, and by working together, we can make a difference.