Go Deep

Mexico City

Water Facts

  • CDMX National authorities have estimated a water extraction rate of 507,364 million m3/year and only 279,026 million m3/year infiltrates the system.

  • Creation of the Grand Canal diverted water from the basin of Mexico City to the north, protecting from dangerous flooding, but trading for the issues of dried wetlands and water exhaustion.

  • Urban public use commands over 51 % of the water usage granted in Mexico City, followed by agricultural use, at 33%.

  • Mexico City gets 65% of its water from the city aquifer, fed by the few living tributaries like the Magdalena River, with the rest coming from the Cutzamala system. This system includes a complex network of canals, tunnels, and pipelines, 6 pumping plants, 11 dams, 10 reservoirs, a major treatment plant, 2 storage tanks along the route, and 4 storage tanks at the terminus in Mexico City.

Water Challenges




There are over 1,400 points of drainage into various water systems that run through Mexico City, such as wastewater dispensation, industry effluence, uncontrolled landfill seepage and agrochemical runoff.


Agricultural Sustainability

Agricultural Sustainability

The Xochimilco region is relying on treated wastewater to sustain its agricultural network, which still contains pesticides that cause glyphosate poisoning, among other pollutants.


Groundwater Overexploitation

Groundwater Overexploitation

has caused significant issues such as water exhaustion and subsidence, which then compound to create immediate threats that divert resources from fixing the source of the issue.


Water Infrastructure Damage

Water Infrastructure Damage

mainly from flooding and subsidence, leads to unnecessary water loss. The repeated cycle of droughts and floods means infrastructure must be designed, and maintained, to withstand both extremes of water overload and scarcity, which is very expensive.


A must-read report on climate change in Mexico City:

“A water resilience plan for the heritage zone of Xochimilco, Tlahuac and Milpa Alta” is a comprehensive, multi-organization strategy guide that aims to build resilience of some of Mexico City’s most critical water systems.

In 2004, UNESCO designated 2,657 hectares of the Xochimilco ecosystem a protected area; a World Heritage Site. The Ramsar convention dictates that this area be supported for preservation of culturally important species and indigenous history.

“The 2030 Water Agenda” is a document that outlines Mexico’s commitment to providing the next generation a clean and sustainable water system that minimizes risk to vulnerable stakeholders.

Mexico City Situation Report

The Situation Report provides a state-of-the-moment overview and analysis of Mexico City’s water conditions, challenges, and emerging issues.

Researcher Profile

Research Facilities

LANCIS – Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad del Instituto de Ecología, UNAM

The National Laboratory of Sustainability Sciences of the Institute of Ecology at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico),  LANCIS, promotes technological development, co-creation and translation of knowledge to link science and decision-making in a transition towards sustainability. In the laboratory, different disciplines are combined: biology, geography, scientific computing, environmental sciences and engineering, among others, to consolidate transdisciplinary projects with strategic social actors at a national and international level.


The content of this Go Deep page was written by:

Alara Cohen

University of the Fraser Valley

Robert Newell

Royal Roads University & Food and Agriculture Institute, University of the Fraser Valley