Urban Impact due to the Rise of Groundwater
8. Urban Impact due to the Rise of Groundwater
It is important to note that speciﬁc regulations Numerous towns in the metropolitan area of are not yet in place for the quality control of Buenos Aires have experienced the progressive rise the products irrigated with wastewater. The of water tables, and have discussed the origins of implementation of the Strategic Agro-Food Plan the phenomenon, the individual relevance of its by the Under-Secretariat of Water Resources (PEA2
causes and emerging responsibilities. Moreover, the SsRH) will promote the adoption of tools to improve
water that emerges has serious quality problems. the use of water, including its reuse, for food In short, the uncontrolled rise of water has caused production.
the following problems: the flooding of basements According to the 2002 National Agricultural
even in zones on high ground, foundation problems Census (INDEC, 2002), the total are used for in various types of structure, upwelling of water in agricultural purposes in Argentina was 33,491,480
low zones with flooded land, slump of blind wells, hectares (approximately 19% of the total are), of
polluted water in contact with the population, which only 1,355,601 hectares were effectively destruction of pavements, in short, a serious decline irrigated (approximately 4% of the total). Mendoza is
in the quality of life (Bianchi and Lopardo, 2003). the province with the largest irrigated area (267,889
According to certain preliminary explanations, hectares), which equivalent to approximately 19.8%
the phenomenon could result from an increase in of the total irrigated area in Argentina.
rainfall and climate factors. Others say that it is The main treatment plants in the province of
caused by anthropic actions such as the lack of sew- Mendoza are those of Campo Espejo and El Paramillo.
ers in the affected zones, the importation of water They process almost 80% of the domestic liquid
through drinking water pipelines from sources waste treated in the province. Both use systems with
outside the basin, the sharp decrease in water sup- stabilization ponds. The Campo Espejo purification
ply through domestic wells, the elimination of the plant treats approximately 140,000 m 3 /day (1.7 provision of industrial water through local wells m 3 /s), which are used to irrigate approximately and the systematic retraction of the public supply of 2,000 hectares through direct reuse (Fasciolo et al.,
drinking water from underground sources. 1998), and which eventually indirectly irrigate over
A specific study has been carried out in a 10,000 hectares through the Jocoli canal (Barbeito
region in a “water emergency” state in the Lomas Anzorena, 2001). The El Paramillo purification plant
de Zamora district in the southern zone of Greater
Buenos Aires, with an area of approximately 88 are used to irrigate around 1,800 hectares in summer
treats approximately 91,000 m 3 /day (1 m 3 /s), which
km² and a high population density, which rose from (Álvarez et al., 2008).
574,330 in 1991 to 627,806 in 2003. Lomas de Zamora According to the information available (Fasciolo
is located in a low region of the basin of the Matanza et al., 1998; Barbeito Anzorena, 2001; Álvarez et river, which is very inefficient in comparison with al., 2008) and the total surface irrigated in the the natural drainage network into the Matanza- province of Mendoza (INDEC, 2007), less than 2% of
Riachuelo system, and makes the district more this surface is irrigated through the direct reuse of
vulnerable than medium and large areas in regions treated wastewater.
in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.
Chapter 12 of Resolution Nº 400/2003 of the Since high population growth has not General Irrigation Department of the Province been accompanied by a rise in basic sanitation of Mendoza specifies the irrigation methods infrastructure, anthropic causes also interfere permitted by the Special Restricted Cultivation negatively with natural ones, such as the increase Area Regulations (ACRE): seedbeds without a slope,
in rainfall. In 1991, the drinking water network furrows without sewers at the base, subsurface served 69.9% of the population of the Lomas de irrigation and localized irrigation, and expressly Zamora district, while the sewerage network prohibits irrigation by sprinkler, pivot or similar
covered only 22.7%. The drinking water network methods that project effluent into the atmosphere.
currently supplies 90%, but uses surface water,