Meet David Vargas
David Vargas is a founder of Isla Urbana, a non-profit in Mexico City started by 2 graduate engineers, putting up rainwater harvesting systems in low income neighborhoods where families go months without water. Isla Urbana is helping thousands of kids and families get access to clean water. Have a listen.
Through Isla Urbana, the entrepreneur David Vargas is provides a solution to the urgent problem of water in urban and rural zones of Mexico. “We sell products and services to clients who want to live in a more sustainable way with water. We install systems and products for integrated water management that includes water collection, saving devices and purifiers.” At the same time, Isla Urbana supports families with low incomes and lack of water by the installation of rainwater harvesting systems.
David points out that at the core of this enterprise lies a basic problem: “10 million Mexicans don’t have access to water and the water harvesting systems are an economical, environmental and socially sustainable system to provide clean water.”
Isla Urbana works on two fronts: first, to install filtration trains for drinking water in factories. “On the non-lucrative side we work with semi-urban areas in the city, with Huicholes, Otomies, many of these Mexicans without access to water are indigenous or in marginalized zones,” points out David.
Mexico City is ranked third in the list of major world cities facing extreme water stress. This is because they extract from the aquifers and rivers, much more water than is naturally recharged. If they maintain this trend, their sources will cease to exist in the not too distant future.
30% of the water supplied to the Mexico City network is provided by the Lerma-Cutzamala system. This water is pumped from a distance of 150km away and vertically 1km over mountains from sources outside the Valley of Mexico. The energy cost to pump all this water is equivalent to the total electricity consumption of the city of Puebla!
In Mexico City, 70% of the water that we use comes from aquifers directly underneath the city. The extraction has been so extreme that the city has sunk more than 10 metres in the last 100 years!
“It is inconceivable that here, where we are drowning in rain and flooding, yet at the same time we are going without water to drink” José Luis Luege Tamargo, Ex Director Conagua (2006-2012).