Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mexico City looks for solutions to water problems

Mexico City is fast draining the aquifer underneath it as demand for water grows. So fast that the entire city sinks by about a foot a year.

At the same time the city gets 27 inches of rain; but most of the water runs off paved over surfaces into drainage systems and then stright into the sea.

Now a group of Mexican engineeers believe they have a solution to the problem; water periable concrete.

The porous concret was discovered by accident in 1996, by chemist Jamie Grau, who considered it a faulty piece of work. But his friend, architect Nestor de Buen immediately realized that this paving tile could be the solution to rainwater runoff problems around the world. De Buen convinced Grau to patent the procuct, whcihc they called Ecocrete, and together they began selling to the Mexican and US construction industry.

Many have realized the potential benefit of this product, but so far its use has been minor, with city officials preferring to use cheaper, traditional materials. But as water problem intensify, Ecocrete may see a boom in popularity.


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