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chapala aquifer - have information?

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I`m interested in the current depth of the aquifer under us here and issues affecting the aquifer. Recently, someone told me it is at 29 meters and that that reflects a relatively rapid decline in recent years. Does anyone have solid data about this? Threading thru information available on the Conagua site and other internet sites has not revealed this specific information.

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The following 2011 English language blog post written by Barbara Harwood (a.k.a. Pia Aitken) for the Lake Chapala Green Group makes reference to the fact that, "[t]he water table below us has dropped about 250 feet in the last five years from burgeoning development."

http://lakechapalagreengroup.squarespace.com/home/2011/4/29/gaias-freshwater-an-oncoming-crisis.html

Perhaps she can chime in and provide us with the source material that corroborates her claim.

On the Spanish-language side of things, the following El Universal article from 2002 makes reference to the fact that there are some 25,000 groundwater wells in the (River) Lerma/Chapala "basin", whatever that refers to:

http://archivo.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/83051.html

Does the term "basin" refer to the geographic area that encompasses all of the tributaries that feed the Lerma but not including the Lake Chapala watershed? Or does it include the geographic area that comprises the Lake Chapala watershed? Who knows.

But the point here is well taken; there were then a large number of nearby wells and, owing to ever increasing development, there are most certainly even more now. Couple to this a basic lack of any sort of conservation ethic among an ever expanding residential population (marked locally by a preponderance of lawns, top-loading washing machines, swimming pools and flush toilets and basically no rainwater harvesting), a large and growing export agricultural sector (indirectly a water exporting sector) and a rapidly expanding industrial sector and its clear that this region of Mexico requires a check on its unsustainable exploitation of groundwater. The global intelligence firm Stratfor wrote in 2015 that, "On paper Mexico is not a water scarce nation," - In the aggregate there's apparently enough water to go around - but on the ground its a much different story.* Fair distribution and access to clean water are the problem. Some 11 million people (in a country of 122 million) - or 9 percent of the whole - are in desperate need; leaky centralized infrastructure leads to massive losses; and existing freshwater supplies (which tend to be located away from population centers) are rapidly succumbing to intense forms of pollution.

So, your question really couldn't come at a better time. Abuse of groundwater supplies here in the Lakeside area is a serious problem that demands our immediate attention.


* https://www.stratfor.com/analysis/industrial-expansion-will-strain-mexicos-water-resources

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Todd STONG is speaking at the LCS Open Circle next Sunday and he has a mountain of information regarding the lake. Even though it is crowded, I go to listen to him speak since he has worked on many projects around the lake. Consider coming and over he has the answer to our question.

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Dr. Stong is certainly one of the most important sources of information about water is this area. Unfortunately I am unable to attend his talk today but will be communicating with him about the aquifer(s).

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Stong's talk is NEXT Sunday according to the poster.

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Thanks, Cedros.

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For the sake of forum posterity, here's a link to a 2012 English language case study of the hydrology of the Chapala-Lerma basin:

http://www.conagua.gob.mx/CONAGUA07/Contenido/Documentos/LermaChapalaBasinCase.pdf

And, regarding the quoted ground water table decrease, my guess is that the following book is the source of the 250' measurement:

https://books.google.com.mx/books?id=N9TlKJEuuawC&pg=PA154&lpg=PA154&dq=water+table+%2B+lake+chapala&source=bl&ots=AX6_ojA3W5&sig=dLgETSt-fKWpNL5nS20UhHvYqdc&hl=es-419&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiR-NWAzfjMAhVIMFIKHTEuAUI4ChDoAQgzMAM#v=onepage&q=water%20table%20%2B%20lake%20chapala&f=false  

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Notice there is no footnote for the 250' measurement.  I'm a bit suspicious of their stats since they didn't get it correct when stating that Lake Chapala water is the sole source of water for Guadalajara.

 

Write to Todd Stong is you want answers.

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"There is a substantial framework in place to ensure the improved and appropriate use of water: the National Water Commission (Comision Nacional del Agua, or Conagua), a large agency that is the sole federal authority on water.".

 

 

It is my understanding that this is true only for well water.  Control of ground water such as rivers is not under their control.

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22 minutes ago, Osoprehistorico said:

"There is a substantial framework in place to ensure the improved and appropriate use of water: the National Water Commission (Comision Nacional del Agua, or Conagua), a large agency that is the sole federal authority on water.".

 

 

It is my understanding that this is true only for well water.  Control of ground water such as rivers is not under their control.

My understanding is that control and oversight of Mexico`s aquifers (as opposed to the wells themselves)  is under no authority at all (since they have not been placed anywhere within Conagua).

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5 hours ago, bdmowers said:

My understanding is that control and oversight of Mexico`s aquifers (as opposed to the wells themselves)  is under no authority at all (since they have not been placed anywhere within Conagua).

Extraction of water from aquifers would be from wells.  They do publish from time to time the depth of waer from them but there is really nothing they do about them without limiting water extraction from them.  What could they do in the way of control and oversight?

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Since our local aquifer is being depleted something on the order of 2 meters per year according to an often-quoted 2000 (yes, a bit old) study, it probably behooves us (ooh, hardly ever get to use that old word!) to try to do something about it. Perhaps some education to start, especially about landscape watering/drought tolerant plants and then moving on to investigating personal rain catchment systems also for landscape watering? 

There is much unknown such as is there a really local aquifer that our residential wells draw from or is the aquifer we draw our water from the one that a lot of agriculture enterprises also draw from. If the former then local solutions such as better landscape watering practices and rain catchment systems could have a large impact on our local water supply. If the aquifer is gigantic and is drawn from by agriculture then local action wouldn`t have much impact. The figure for how much of the water drawn from aquifers in the 5 state Lerma watershed is by agriculture is 80%.

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Remember the Chapala Aquifer is not just under Chapala.  It covers a very large area.  I suggest going to open circle and see what Todd says. Always eye opening. He is always open to questions I find.

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On ‎5‎/‎26‎/‎2016 at 11:53 PM, Osoprehistorico said:

Extraction of water from aquifers would be from wells.  They do publish from time to time the depth of waer from them but there is really nothing they do about them without limiting water extraction from them.  What could they do in the way of control and oversight?

There is monitoring of water drawn from wells. Our fraccionamiento has two wells. Theses wells have meters that are read on a regular basis by government people (Conagua?). We pay for what we extract.

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When you're talking about personal rain catchment systems, I assume you are referring to gutters into a holding system.

I really wanted to do this on the coast. Then the reality of numbers came with the main one being that the rain really only falls for a certain numbers of months per year here...say four.

1 inch of rain falling on 1,000 square feet of roof is equal to 1,000 litres. So far this year we've had 34.68 inches of rain with the majority of it in the last three months. Assuming you have only 1,000 square feet of roof, that's 34,680 litres of water to store.

1 cubic meter holds 1,000 litres. So you would need a storage capacity of 3.25 meters x 3.25 meters x 3.25 meters (34.32 cubic meters) to hold it. And it has to be parged to be waterproofed. Then, if it's underground, it needs a pump to get it out which requires electricity.

Then, that water is not flowing into the lake to raise its level.

I have been round and round with these calculations and keep hitting a roadblock. If the precipitation fell year round, on a fairly regular basis, it would be more feasible.

There are many ways to conserve water. Front loading washing machines use 10 gallons as opposed to 50 gallons for a top loader for ONE cycle. Being careful what you flush and how often. Military style showers (water on, water off, soap up, water back on to rinse off. Making sure your plumbing and fixtures have no leaks. Etc.

When the San Pancho ladies committee went door to door to find out how many bathrooms people had, I laughed out loud at their statement..."you have two bathrooms therefore you're using more water than a house that has only one bathroom". I pointed out that it wasn't the number of bathrooms involved but the number of people using the bathrooms. They left.

 

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Like most every other institutional social order system here in Mexico, there is already laws and regulations that address problems such as the control of water taking from wells.  The big problem is the attitude of many residents to ignore or find ways around the laws and regulations of the country.  Like NOB, all water wells here are supposed to be registered with CONAGUA and have a "Tile of Concession" (renewed every ten years) for a specific extraction volume.  The "owner" of the concession is supposed to pay CONAGUA a tax on the extraction volume based on the use classification.  There are many, many illegal wells in use.  Also, there is simply insufficient monitoring and enforcement of the existing laws specifically to water. I hear often the claim by Mexican nationals that they have a "right" by means of the Constitution to "free" water and don't have to pay for it.

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