Aquifers abused

Unites States has long deemed water deep underground unworthy of protection

Mexico City’s plan to draw drinking water from a mile-deep aquifer has shed light on potentially harmful water policy in the United States.

U.S. water regulators have long operated under the assumption that water thousands of feet below the surface is too expensive to tap, therefore allowing exemptions to mining and energy companies that often inject pollutants deep underground, according to ProPublica. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued more than 1,500 permits allowing companies to directly pollute such aquifers.

Water shortages in Mexico City have led officials to drill an exploratory well into its newly discovered deep aquifer, claiming they are willing to spend up to $40 million to pump and treat the water that could supply some of the city’s population for up to a century.