Contamination and Rock Throwing

Contamination and Rock Throwing

Neighbors from Rincón and San Diego have been denouncing the fact that black waters are being dumped into the Carrizos Arroyo. The authorities have not responded and the dumping continues—contaminating not only the arroyo, but also the waters of the Presa de la Cantera.

There are other water issues, and this one is in the neighborhood Nuevo Pantoja where the neighbors are complaining that San Miguel de Allende’s Drinking Water and Sewerage System (Sistema de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado), known as SAPASMA, is not responding to their complaints about overcharging and their demands for proper meters. This conflict ended up with a rock throwing exchange with the state police and the residents of Nuevo Pantoja. This came about because neither the president of SAPASMA, nor the director, nor any public official ever showed up to clear up the dispute.

Nuevo Pantoja is a neighborhood located between La Lejona and colonia Allende. It is part of an ejido (communally owned land), and it began to be populated after the flooding of the Presa de Allende in 1970. The residents came from the nearby communities of Flores and Pantoja. The residents began buying properties and cooperated in order to get water from SAPASMA.

There is a general macro-meter for water in the entire community and a community board, which the residents share equitably, pays the bill monthly. What the community complained about was that the charges were not uniform: the charges were between 250 to 500 pesos per household but then went up to 600. There was a request for a resolution from SAPASMA, a change of the community board, and a placement of meters in homes. As a matter of fact, out of the 300 residents, 100 bought their own meters in order to pay for their use. SAPASMA did nothing.

It was because of this that on May 14, the residents of this neighborhood decided to block off Libramiento Manuel Zavala (where it fronts the neighborhood) demanding that the officials of SAPASMA meet with them and reach a resolution. The water company officials did not show up, but the state police did. That is when rock throwing and pushing (from both sides) took place, and finally the highway was cleared. There were at least 16 people hurt (5 of them policemen), and although there were children involved, none of them were hurt.

The Carrizos Arroyo

This arroyo has its history. Some of the stories are amusing and some more dramatic. One story is about a woman who used to do laundry in the arroyo and during a sudden flash flood she was carried away, and found dead three days later in the presa at La Cantera. The residents of Rincon de Canal remember how in times of rain the arroyo fills with water, and after a few days the filtration from Los Picachos makes the water run crystal clear.

“We used to catch fish here, and even to see turtles,” a man who did not want to be identified told us. “Now what we see is green, or black, foul smelling water because they are dumping the water from the Parroquia; look, over there is the pipe,” he indicated.

In the area where cattle drink, several have died after drinking the dirty water from the arroyo. Although there has been no formal complaint to SAPASMA, it is hoped action will be taken at the federal level.

For several days, Atención has requested an interview with SAPASMA to get additional information about the issue, but there has been no response–and there have been no answers regarding the issues either at Nuevo Pantoja, or Carrizos Arroyo.