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Experts call for urgent action to address water shortages in Hermosillo

By Kendal Blust
Published: Wednesday, March 22, 2023 - 3:46pm

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Hermosillo water supply
Hermosillo ¿Cómo Vamos?
The researchers used a graphic to show how much of Hermosillo's water (shown here in cubic meters) is wasted or unaccounted for each year.

The Sonoran capital Hermosillo is experiencing a water crisis. And experts say the only way to fix it is through better resource management.

Nearly 19 billion gallons of water — more than half of the city’s supply — goes unaccounted for each year because of a lack of metering, leaks and other inefficiencies. That’s according to a new report from water specialists with the local nonprofit Hermosillo ¿Cómo Vamos?.

That lost water points to a serious management issue, said Nicolas Pineda, a researcher at the Colegio de Sonora and a lead author on the new report. And the researchers believe Hermosillo's long-term water future depends on improving water management.

Climate change and drought will exert increasing pressure on Hermosillo’s water supply, the researchers say. So local, state and federal leaders need to focus their funds and efforts on measuring all of the water that comes in and out of Hermosillo's system, reducing waste and fully harnessing treated waste water to stave off shortages that have threatened the city each summer in recent years.

Hermosillo's long-term water supply also depends on residents, the researchers concluded. They urged them to pressure leaders to meter water at their homes and businesses and to immediately report leaks. They also recommend that people living in Hermosillo start capturing rainwater and using gray water in their homes and gardens in order to reduce waste.

One solution the researchers don't want on the table right now: tapping into the sea through desalination projects. They say addressing Sonora's water supply issues through desalination would be a misstep at this point because the costs and environmental impacts outweigh the benefits, particularly when other viable options that aren't being properly managed.

Fronteras Sonora Climate Change Water