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An aquatic paradise in Mexico pushed to the edge of extinction

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Residents of Xochimilco ply the historic canals in canoes. Intense exploitation of the area's aquifers during the last 50 years has depleted springs, prompting the authorities to replenish the waterways from a nearby sewage treatment plant.

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Tourist boats (above). Intense exploitation of the area's aquifers during the last 50 years has depleted springs, prompting the authorities to replenish the waterways from a nearby sewage treatment plant.

Xochimilco, Mexico

WITH their grey-green waters and blue herons, the canals and island farms of Xochimilco in southern Mexico City are all that remain of the extensive network of shimmering waterways that so awed Spanish invaders when they arrived here 500 years ago.

But the

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