AIU/MCC goes ecological.
If you were to pass by AIU-Mexico City Campus you would probably notice all the activity around the roof and the lower level of the building. What's going on exactly with the two big black water tanks connected to the pipes coming from the roof? Let's ask Prof. Ilan Adler.
"The system we are implementing at Alliant University, Mexico City Campus, will enable us to use rainwater for sinks, toilets, cleaning and kitchen of the whole building, instead of wasting it. Before, rainwater falling on the roof went straight into the sewage system; now we are storing it in these two "tinacos" - or water tanks. Having both of them full, there will be 2,200 liters of rainwater ready to be pumped up into the tinaco on the roof and used in the whole building."
That's a lot of water! How long would this quantity last for the building's use?
"One or two days. When the reserve of rainwater is used up it is possible to switch to the old system at any moment. Alliant University might be self-sufficient for about four months a year, during the rainy season. This is very important because Mexico City has enormous water problems: water is collected from 50 km. outside and 600 m below the city. Nevertheless, of the several millions of liters that flow into the city per minute, 40% is wasted, for example, by leakage from broken pipes etc. Collecting rainwater can help to improve this situation."
What is the quality of rainwater like?
"Filtered rainwater is better than tap water. Tap water in Mexico has a high percentage of chlorine; rainwater does not. In order to have clean water, the system we are implementing has two filters: the one on top of the roof retains sand, stones and coarse materials; the other, called FILTROPLAS, removes most of the residual sand. Thanks to señor Cruz, señora Silvia and señor Leo, who helped enthusiastically with the whole system, the roof will be kept clean. There will also be a new purification system, unique in Mexico, that uses magnetic fields. It has already been tried in Venezuela, Patzcuaro (in the State of Michoacan), and the U.S."
So, why follow the example of Alliant University and build this system in one's own house?
"Well, first of all it is a cheap way of saving water and energy. To implement the whole system one needs only the tinacos, the pipes, and the filters. Besides, Mexico City was built on a lake, and the Aztecs used boats to move around. Collecting rainwater is a way of remembering this special link between the city and its water resources."
The inauguration of the system has been held on October 22nd, with the interventions of Prof. Ilan Adler and Kakuko Yoshida from UNEP.