Kurt Hollander
The Guardian
February 5, 2014

Water in Mexico City comes out of the tap in a variety of colours (yellow, rusty or earthy tints), flavours (sulphuric, chlorinated or metallic) and textures (muddy or gritty). Water that doesn’t smell, taste or look funky, however, is actually more dangerous, for it can sucker people into believing that it’s drinkable. In general, all those who have other options don’t drink the tap water.

The quality of water supplied to buildings here has consistently been ranked at the bottom of any list of world cities. In addition, rusty pipes, mould and old water tanks made from asbestos (prohibited since the 1970s but still used in lower-income buildings) can add harmful substances to the water. Over time, poor quality water can corrode the pipes and eventually cause them to burst.

The water I need to replenish my bodily fluids and to keep myself clean is pumped in daily through an underground pipe that empties into a huge cistern buried underneath the patio. An electric pump located in the patio lifts the water up from the cistern and into the large plastic water tank located on the roof, which in turn channels water back down into the bathroom, shower and kitchen.

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