News Feature | August 12, 2014

Volcanic Spring Water At Center Of Mexican Fight Over Water

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

hotspring

In a chaotic protest, residents of a small Mexican town took to the streets to oppose what they see as government efforts to steal volcanic spring water from local communities. 

Residents of San Bartolo Ameyalco, a small town, led the protest.

"The protesters said the government was seeking to steal a rare commodity: fresh volcanic spring water that has fed much of the town since before the Spaniards came. They insist that politicians want to move water to Santa Fe, a nearby wealthy community of gleaming corporate high-rises that grew out of a smelly dump about a generation ago and in many ways represents the way the Mexican government would like the country to be seen — as economically ascendant," the Los Angeles Times recently reported

During the event, a group of "approximately two thousand other residents of Ameyalco attacked a police force of fifteen hundred riot officers who were guarding the final construction stage of a pipeline that will connect the town’s volcanic spring to Santa Fe, one of the most affluent districts of the Mexican capital," VICE reported

In San Bartolo Ameyalco, the water supply is cherished because it is a rare area of Mexico where the water is not contaminated. The water comes from a volcanic spring. 

Juan Ramírez is among the residents who say the government is making an incursion on the local water supply. 

"My grandfather drank from our town’s spring, and his grandfather before him,” Ramírez told VICE. “Now the government wants to pipe our town’s water directly into rich households and leave us with its contaminated filth. We are not going to let that happen.”

Mexico City's struggles with water have prompted it to look toward the town. 

"Desperate to find additional water sources to supplement a rapidly-depleting aquifer below its soil, the government of Mexico City announced in April 2013 that a part of San Bartolo’s water supply would be joining a larger system delivering water across the entire borough. The residents of the town, whose name is often referred to simply as Ameyalco, responded with a clear voice: 'no,'" Food & Water Watch reported

For more on policy and politics, check out Water Online's Regulations & Legislation Solution Center

Image credit: "Volcanic Legacy Tour 2011: Lassen Volcanic NP Bumpass Hell 20110904-170421," Bill Ward's Brickpile © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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