Desertification and declining access to potable water are central features of global warming and the worldwide environmental crisis. Here in the state of Guanajuato, the majority of the water we use comes from groundwater in underground aquifers, which is being rapidly depleted from overuse as over 85% of available water is used for industrial agriculture. With industrial agriculture comes heavy pesticide and chemical use, which in turn can contaminate limited surface water resources and alter ecosystems. An additional concern is the growing privatization of the world's dwindling freshwater supply.
As wells dry up, as is increasingly the case in our region, communities often have to share the same well and must ration their use of water. In addition, as the water is depleted, wells are drilled deeper and deeper, extracting groundwater contaminated with naturally-occurring arsenic and fluoride. This water is already being consumed in hundreds of communities throughout our watershed. Today, millions of people throughout Mexico are exposed to excessive levels of extremely difficult-to-remove arsenic and fluoride from their water supplies.
Dylan Terrell, the founder and executive director of Caminos de Agua, will describe the current state of our aquifer and discuss the solutions their organization is providing. The mission of Caminos de Agua is "to improve human health and community well-being through adequate and affordable access to clean water." They work in partnership with local communities and grassroots organizations to create long-term sustainable water solutions such as rainwater harvesting along with the production and distribution of their certified ceramic filters. They have helped build over 1,000 large-scale rainwater harvesting systems, and are poised to build thousands more. Most recently, their technology team has developed a low-cost groundwater treatment system that removes arsenic and fluoride from community water supplies.