On Sunday, March 26, the AguaVida Network hosted San Miguel's first annual Water Fair featuring a variety of interactive workshops and performances for the entire family. The festive event in Plaza Civica opened with a song, Lluvia de la Sierra, written by José Luís Mendoza Aubert and especially adapted for the occasion, followed by a participatory group dance led by Paty Arrieta. Hundreds of people passing through the Plaza visited an array of tents where they could watch a participatory mural being painted, adopt a tree, or meet many of the organizations involved in the AguaVida Network, including Audubon de Mexico, CASA, Caminos de Agua, Cuenca Sana Comunidad Sana, CASA, 41 Trees, Fundación de Apoyo Infantil (FAI), Rotary Midday, Tikkun Eco Center and Via Organic among others. The event closed with rousing perfomances by the rap group Ranchero Pandillero from CASA and the Jarocho Fusión Colonche Ensemble which presented traditional music from Veracruz.
Throughout the day, the AguaVida organizations provided information tables alerting the San Miguel community to the serious water problems we are facing in our region. Some of the area's wells have gone dry due to the excessive use of this common good by agro-industry. And, as the aquifer is being depleted we are facing problems of contamination because as water is extracted from greater depths it is naturally mixed with elements that are very harmful for human consumption such as arsenic and flouride. Another serious problem arises from the lack of treatment of the water discharged into the Presa Allende. Together with the runoff of water contaminated with agrochemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers, this has resulted in an infestation of highly invasive water hyacinths causing serious ecological and economic problems.
The organizations also presented alternatives. For example, Caminos de Agua demonstrated, by means of a large model, how rainwater can be collected, especially for drinking and cooking. Rainwater does not contain fluoride or arsenic, toxic elements that are often found in the piped water that reaches the homes of the city. They have designed a simple treatment with filters and colloidal silver that makes rainwater fit for human consumption. And, the organization 41 Trees gave away trees donated by various nurseries, while explaining the importance of trees and reforestation in restoring degraded soil that can no longer absorb water.
Given the warm reception of the Water Fair, the AguaVida Network has decided to make it an annual event on or around the occasion of World Water Day which takes place each year on March 22. The Network is also considering smaller informative events throughout the year aimed at placing the issue of water firmly on the public agenda.