Part problem prolongs Mexico City water outage for millions

November 5, 2018
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A Mexico City Water Systems employee fills up his water truck full of potable water in Mexico City, Saturday Nov. 3, 2018. Mexico City is currently on a four-day water shutdown for maintenance which is affecting 13 of the city's 16 boroughs. (AP Photo/Anthony Vazquez)

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A water outage that has left millions of homes and businesses dry in Mexico’s megalopolis capital since last week will last about two days longer than planned, authorities announced Monday.

The National Water Commission said in a statement that a new piece known as an “inverted K,” installed during the scheduled maintenance to the Cutzamala water system, “suffered a displacement in its assembly.” So pumping was halted to reduce pressure.

A fix will take an estimated 36 to 40 hours, the commission said, and afterward authorities will investigate what caused the problem.

The water cutoff began last Wednesday and is said to have affected at least 7 million people. Service was originally planned to be restored by Tuesday.

Ramon Aguirre Diaz, director general of the Mexico City Water System, said in an interview Sunday with Foro TV that service would be back to normal Thursday.

The city of about 9 million residents — as well as 11 million-plus in surrounding suburbs — has a long history of water woes. Mexico City is sinking due to excessive groundwater extraction and it is also prone to flooding during the summer rainy season because the valley has no natural outlet for rainwater.

In preparation for the cutoff, residents hoarded water in buckets, tanks and garbage cans. In recent days they’ve eschewed washing machines and been taking sponge baths instead of showers.

City authorities have also been sending water trucks to supply hardest-hit areas.

Update hourly