Make More Good for July 2021

Edge Environment’s monthly ‘Make More Good’ donation sends $300 to a worthy cause nominated by a staff member. In July 2021, Edge’s Consultant, Iris Caballero, chose Isla Urbana to be the recipient.

Around 7 years ago, I watched an award-winning documentary (H2Omx) about water availability and supply in Mexico City, a place which was founded not next to but on a lake and where it rains “14% more than the famously soggy London”[1]. In the documentary, Isla Urbana, an organisation that aims to promote sustainable water development, presents a solution to the water problem in Mexico. I loved the organisation’s purpose as well as their passion and genuine willingness to help those in need.

That’s why I chose them as the recipient of this month’s Make More Good donation.

Just to give more background on the scale of the issue, in Mexico City alone, around 18% of the population (that is almost 4 million people) lack adequate water services. The problem is complex: unsustainable water management practices have put Mexico City at risk of running out of water:

  • Mexico City has 22 million inhabitants which means a very large water requirement.
  • Rainwater is rarely collected; around 66% of the water consumed is extracted from the aquifers[2] at a speed that allows less than a 50% recharge, which not only causes the current shortage, but it is quickly depleting the remaining water resources[3].
  • Due to the city being built on a lake and the large volume of water extraction, it is sinking around 40cm every year, increasing the risk of damage to infrastructure and contamination of water supplies, which could cause a water pollution crisis[4].
  • This also increases the risk of floods and other related events.
  • Adding to the problem is the lack of sufficient water treatment plants and the frequent leaks in the distribution system that cause a 40% loss, making it the city in the world with the highest demand for water (300 litres per inhabitant)[5].
  • Finally, the water extracted from the aquifers is not always suitable for consumption, as it has been shown to have an increase in its concentration of metals[6].

The problem extends to the rest of Mexico, in which 35% of the population (that’s 44 million people), don’t have daily access to a water supply, and almost 3 million don’t have access at all[7]. This proportion of the population are normally groups that are already vulnerable and segregated.

It seems unreal, with all these facts mentioned above, that not enough rainwater is being captured.

Fortunately, Isla Urbana helps low income families install rainwater harvesting systems to enable families to have sustainable access to water. In 12 years, Isla Urbana has helped over 21,000 families (or 100,000 people) and is currently harvesting over a billion litres of water per year. In 2021, Isla Urbana has expanded its operations to work in Chile, Brazil, Panama and Honduras.

Thanks Edge, for supporting this amazing organisation and helping them keeping up with their great work.

Check them out on their website and in their social media. If you are interested in their cause, you can support them by doing a one-off or monthly donation here

Thanks for reading!


[1] https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2010-jul-27-la-fg-mexico-rain-20100727-story.html

[2] https://www.animalpolitico.com/2021/03/el-reto-de-llevar-agua-a-12-millones-de-mexicanos-que-no-tienen/

[3] https://www.greenpeace.org/mexico/blog/10163/por-que-en-mexico-hay-escasez-de-agua/

[4] https://www.eluniversal.com.mx/ciencia-y-salud/por-extraccion-de-acuiferos-subterraneos-la-cdmx-se-hunde-40-cm-por-ano

[5] https://www.elagoradiario.com/agua/agua-y-ciudades/ciudad-de-mexico-sin-agua/

[6] https://www.greenpeace.org/mexico/blog/10163/por-que-en-mexico-hay-escasez-de-agua/

[7] https://ceplan.com.mx/mexico-escasez-del-agua-y-una-crisis-sanitaria/

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