Map of The Drainage System of Mexico's Valley

This piece dates back to 1866, the year the city was managed by the Imperial government of Maximilian of Habsburg, also known as Maximilian the I of Mexico. Discover the engineering plans of Francisco de Garay, who was a member of the Minor Board of Drainage Works, and who won a competition in 1856 for a project that would finally drain the water basin of Mexico's valley.

Mapa del Desagüe del Valle de México (1866) by Francisco de GarayArchivo General de la Nación - México

Between 1851 and 1856 Mexico City suffered constant flooding, so the construction of a drain was a pressing concern for the authorities. Garay's idea was to open a large canal going from Texcoco to the northwest part of the city, Tequixquiac. He also suggested the creation of other channels spanning the south and east of city, in order to improve the drainage system and trade routes.

The map uses three different colors to differentiate the different levels of the basin.

The colors crisscross the most important hills of the region, indicating the runoff points during the rainy season and viable building options for tunnels and canals.

In the center of the map a blue circle surrounds Mexico City, this marked the limits of the dry areas and the rivers of Tlanepantla and Azcapotzalco still reach the very outskirts of the city.

Similarly, the five lakes of the region are mapped out, to the south, the sweet waters of the lakes of Xochimilco and Chalco.

As the population grew and great avenues began to be built, these began to become connected to the Xochimilco lagoon and it wasn't long before it became a tourist attraction with its famous "trajineras."

Current view of the Chalco lake.

Mapa del Desagüe del Valle de México (1866) by Francisco de GarayArchivo General de la Nación - México

To the east, the Texcoco lagoon.

What was once known the lake of Texcoco, is now completely dry and close to being fully urbanized.

Mapa del Desagüe del Valle de México (1866) by Francisco de GarayArchivo General de la Nación - México

And to the north of the city we spot the brackish waters of Zumpango and San Cristobal, the latter has already disappeared due to urbanization.

The Zumpango lagoon, as it is known today, is technically a regulatory vessel with a storage capacity of up to 100 million cubic meters of water, spanning ​​1853 hectares.

Mapa del Desagüe del Valle de México (1866) by Francisco de GarayArchivo General de la Nación - México

Work formally began in 1866, but the economic situation and the fall of the imperial regime left the project unfinished. It wasn't until the government of Porfirio Díaz that the works were resumed, so Garay never saw the culmination of his project, since he died in 1896.

Credits: Story

Francisco de Garay
2 de abril de 1866
México
AGN, Maps, Blueprints, Illustrations N ° 0211
Originally from: Fomento Desagüe vol. 12, exp. 203

Credits: All media
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