Mexico, the Latin American country that buys the most water
On the occasion of World Water Day, to be celebrated on 22 March, the consulting company Kantar carried out a study in Latin America to determine which countries buy the most water, as well as the consumption of water inside and outside the home.
Among the results, it is highlighted that Mexico is the country that buys the most, since more than 1,400 liters per year are purchased for home consumption. The Top is headed by Mexico, followed by Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru.
Another data collected is that eight of every 10 pesos spent on water, are for consumption within the home.
"Considering the consumption within the home, we saw that eight out of every 10 times that water is used, it is bottled. Of which 64% of the times is drunk, while 36% is for cooking mainly rice and soup," said Mariana Cruz, a member of Kantar Mexico's Worldpanel Division.
The study also noted that inside the house people drink more water at lunchtime (38% of the time), followed by breakfast (26%) and finally at dinner (20%). In addition, 17% of the times that people choose to drink water is because it is healthy.
"Being at home, 63% of the bottled water consumed is done during the week, 18% of individuals drink fruit water, being lemon water the main one with 21% of the occasions, followed by Jamaica water (16%)", added Mariana Cruz.
On the other hand, the purchase of water for consumption outside the home increased in 2019: seven out of 10 individuals bought bottles of water to drink outside the home and did so an average of nine times during the year.
It was also confirmed that bottled water is purchased more in convenience stores and street stalls, as well as from vendors at traffic lights. While the moments of greatest consumption outside the home are between meals: mid-morning with 30% of the occasions and mid-afternoon with 22%.
As for the main reasons for consumption, three were detected: to quench thirst (36%), because it is healthy (17%) and out of habit (8%).
The "invisible" drinking water crisis in Latin America
In large Latin American cities, from Mexico to Chile, there are flames of protest in the streets. Ironically, one of the issues that is fuelling that fire is water, its poor quality or its frequent absence from homes, schools, and hospitals.
According to a report in America's Quarterly magazine, the issue of drinking water supply in Latin America has become an "invisible crisis" that already affects 16 of the continent's 20 largest cities.
These 16 cities are in what experts classify as a "stress situation" over the supply of drinking water. Meanwhile, in three of those cities, São Paulo, Lima and Mexico City, the threat of running out of water is totally real.
This is part of a crisis that is not always reflected in the front pages of newspapers, although it is mentioned among the annoyances that citizens from all over the continent have against their respective governments.
A good part of the problem has its roots in global warming, which has come to generate patterns of rainfall that cause heavy rains in sparsely inhabited areas, such as the Amazon and the glaciers of Patagonia.
Meanwhile, many of the populations of the Pacific coast or close to it, have severe drought problems that make the supply of drinking water less reliable every day.
In Mexico City, drinking water occasionally disappears from pipes for weeks. This has opened the door to a black market for water in times of drought.
The solution to the crisis is not as easy as installing new pipes to the last house on the continent and opening new sources. It is a question of finding realistic solutions, since the installation of new pipes and the opening of new wells would have a very high cost at a time when Latin America is going through a lean period and this, moreover, would take years to be implemented.
According to the magazine, it is then a question of finding creative solutions that use new technologies such as the desalination of water using solar energy, or other techniques, some of them inherited to the continent by the Inca Empire.
The main thing, according to the publication, is to begin to cement a change of mentality in which water is seen as an abundant resource, even in places like Iguazú Falls, the Perito Moreno glacier and Lake Atitlán, and begins to be considered a resource in "growing danger.