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Large Pipe Break Leaves Cancun Tourist Zone With Limited Water Supply

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The water supply to the resort area of Cancun is just getting back to normal as repairs are being completed on a large water pipe that was cut, which supplies a significant amount of water to the area.

The cut resulted in not only a loss of water pressure for tourists enjoying their spring holiday vacation getaway to Cancun, but in some instances a very limited supply of water for use.

Hotel under construction in Playa del Carmen

Many hotel property owners realized the incident was an accident. However, they are also warning that it could be a sign of things to come more often as the water supply to the tourist zone is stretched thin by the continued mass tourism and housing developments.

Limited Water Supply

According to reports about the issue, the 20-meter fresh water pipe that in part supplies the tourist zone of Cancun was cut by the workers developing the nearby Kulkana development.

With redundancy in the system, the tourist zone was never completely out of water.

However, tourists had to deal with a drop in overall water pressure, a limited supply of water for some, and even discolored or “muddy” water as the repairs were being completed.

Beautiful Cancun Resort with Tourists Sitting Around the Pool

The repair of the line took an entire day, and the impact of the shutoff is still lingering in some places as the system repressurizes and transitions back to a clear water supply.

Increased Water Demand

The issue came at a bad time, with hotels about 85 percent occupied for the peak of the spring vacation travel period in Cancun.

Waiter walking a tray of drinks out to the beach in cancun

According to local officials, the demand for water use increases by nearly 50 percent during these peak travel periods in the Mexican Caribbean.

Most of the water used is actually not for drinking but is typically used for bathing, irrigation, and sanitary use in showers and toilets instead.

The company that operates the water system in Cancun said in a report that they deliver, on average, 120 liters of potable water per second to the tourist zone of Cancun.

A co-working center with lush foliage

Signs of Things to Come?

This incident really came as no surprise to the President of the Hotel Association of Cancun, Puerto Morelos, and Isla Mujeres, Jesús Almaguer. He’s been warning that some type of issue would occur soon.

The association has been warning municipal officials for some time that the continued development in the tourist zone of Cancun is overtaxing the infrastructure available to support all of the construction.

Road construction in Mexico

They are also very concerned about the ultimate impact these types of issues could have on the guest experience when travelers enjoy times like their spring holiday travel vacation getaway.

Almaguer said in a report that his association intends to use this incident as a reason why developments like the Kulkana project can’t proceed because it already is over the limit the water infrastructure can support.

The Kulkana project is approved for more than 1,300 luxury homes and 850 hotel rooms to be built right in the tourist corridor of Cancun.

Tourists at Playa Marlin, in the Hotel Zone of Cancun.

The Executive President of the Association of Vacation Clubs of Quintana Roo, Miriam Cortés, called the tourist zone of Cancun a “ticking time bomb” in a report about the incident.

Here’s What You Need to Know

If everyone’s right, issues like the reduction in water pressure and supply due to overstretched infrastructure capacity will only get worse in the Cancun tourist zone before it becomes better.

Aerial view of Cancun's Hotel Zone

Other infrastructure limitations could follow. For example, other popular tourist destinations around the country have had to deal with brownouts from an electrical grid that could not keep up with the expanding demands of tourism.

While not ideal, tourists will have to get used to these problems in Cancun until the municipal government is in a position to have funding to make the necessary upgrades and avoid the issue.

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