Mazahua Indians cut off water to Mexico City

From AP, Dec. 14 via Chiapas95:

MEXICO CITY — A group of about 300 Mazahua Indians briefly seized a water treatment plant on Mexico City’s western outskirts Wednesday and temporarily cut off one of the main sources of water for the metropolis of 18 million people, the National Water Commission said.

The protest was motivated by demands for more government development aid, local media reported.

The protesters live in the watershed of the Cutzamala River in the high, pine-covered mountains west of Mexico City. The river provides almost one-third of the city’s water. The Indians broke into the treatment plant late Tuesday, and closed the intake valves for about four hours, the National Water Commission said in a press statement.

The commission said that full service would be restored by the end of Wednesday.

In September 2004, the same group staged a similar protest, blocking chlorine deliveries but not stopping the water supply. They were demanding damage payments for reservoir overflows that damaged crops, as well as money for rural development projects and drinking water systems for their own communities.

In late 2004, the government gave them almost $120,000 in damage payments, promised to build water systems for them and gave them grants for thousands of Christmas tree seedlings to plant for income.

See our last posts on Mexico and struggles for control of water in Mexico.