Travelers in the Mexican Caribbean love vacationing on the island of Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun. With beautiful coves of calm waves and beautiful beaches, it has some of the best waters available in the area.
But not drinking water.
Isla Mujeres lacks a sufficient fresh water source to support both the locals and the many travelers who decide to visit the island.
There is one main source of water from the mainland, and when that gets disrupted, the water to the island is significantly limited.
That exact issue happened last March, and now hotel properties are coming together to demand it not happen again.
An Island with Limited Water
It’s strange to think about an island surrounded by water facing potential shortages of water, but that’s the case on Isla Mujeres.
The issue is the fact that there is only one main water line from the Cancun mainland that provides drinking and bathing water on the island of Isla Mujeres.
Despite markings in the sea warning boats about the presence of the water line underneath, shallow boats running over the pipe threaten to sever the water connection.
That, along with the potential for strong hurricanes and wave action, put the island at constant risk.
Water Line Cut for Three Days
Back in March, the worst nightmare of residents and vacation guests on Isla Mujeres came true when the line was cut, and the island was forced to transition to water conservation mode.
A large ship was left out of control and dragged its anchor over the water line, breaking the freshwater connection to the island from the mainland.
Despite estimates from former officials from the Drinking Water and Sewerage Commissions saying the repair should be complete in five hours, the ruptured line and limited water availability took three days to resolve.
There Were Two Lines
In the past, there were two water lines to Isla Mujeres. However, the second line fell into disrepair and has not been used since sometime after 1993.
Further, the agency that oversees the freshwater connection to Isla Mujeres from the Cancun mainland does not see the need to reestablish the backup line despite pleas from local restaurants along with hotel and resort properties.
Municipal officials on Isla Mujeres are pleading with the agency to again reconsider their plan.
However, they have admitted that they may need to resort to appealing to the State of Quintana Roo to ensure a proper water supply for tourists.
Hotels Turn to Other Water Sources
The hotels and restaurants serving tourists on the island have faced situations where there have been outages on Isla Mujeres, and customers have demanded water service.
Recently, they have had to turn to pool water and even seawater to meet the demands of the visitors to Isla Mujeres.
Reflecting on the experience, the hotels and restaurants are concerned that tourists will have a negative perception of visiting the island after experiencing issues with a basic need – fresh water.
Other Plans in the Works
Isla Mujeres officials have another plan in mind to resolve the issues with limited access to fresh water for the island.
Plans are underway to build a new desalination plant to provide fresh drinking water from the sea next to the Hacienda Mundaca.
That will require some of the work that the local officials are requesting be done in advance of the new plant.
What Tourists Need to Know
Until the issue completely gets resolved with a backup source of freshwater to the island, tourists need to anticipate the potential risk of limited supplies of water on the island.
Because a freshwater supply cut could significantly impact the vacation getaway of travelers to Isla Mujeres, it is recommended that visitors purchase travel insurance that covers trip interruption and the potential need to find alternate lodging on the mainland.
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