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After rainy season that wasn't, parched Mexico City starts restricting water

After rainy season that wasn't, parched Mexico City starts restricting water

The reservoirs that provide Mexico City with much of its water are distressingly low after persistent drought through the summer

MEXICO CITY (AP) — On a bank of Villa Victoria reservoir, where in other years boats might have used them to anchor, 10 concrete blocks lie exposed to the sun. They should be under water, but that was before severe drought dropped the reservoir to the lowest level that Gabriel Bejarano has seen since he moved back to his grandfather's farm a decade ago.

“The water is supposed to come up to here,” Bejarano, a veterinarian, said as he pointed toward a fence a hundred yards back from the reservoir's edge on a recent morning.

The dipping level on the north shore of this lake near Toluca is a major problem for Mexico City, about 77 miles (125 kilometers) to the west. Villa Victoria — about one-third its usual level this time of year — and two other drought-depleted reservoirs make up most of the Cutzamala system, which serves more than 20 million people and is at a historical low for this time of year.

Even more worrisome: Mexico's rainy season is just about over, and its departure will end any realistic hope of refilling the reservoirs before next year. The Mexican National Water Commission on Tuesday announced water restrictions equivalent to about 8% of the Cutzamala system's flow, and millions of users in Mexico City and Toluca fear even greater restrictions over the winter.