The 1st Annual Todos Santos Mango festival sort of started yesterday. I wasn’t there. More stuff happens this evening but it’s raining so who knows.
This festival got me to thinking about mangos. The trees are everywhere and they are old, large, fruit bearing trees. It wasn’t rain that watered them to these sizes, it was the open irrigation system that the town used for decades if not longer. A few years back, the Todos Santos Ejido began to close up the irrigation system, i.e. substituting buried pipes for open canals. This seemed a good idea as the open canals leaked all over and bred mosquitos too. I was all for it.
But recently I learned that the motivation for the change was so that the Ejido could pipe and sell water to more distant farms, some of them huge commercial farms that are slowly polluting the groundwater with fertilizer and pesticide runoff. So much for the common good.
The terrible side effect of the closing of the open irrigation canals is that many of the old mango trees are slowly dying. Some are lucky enough to still get water from other sources but dozens if not hundreds are drying up, year by year. The annual rainfall is not enough. Even my neighbor’s old large mango trees are showing the effect. The canal that runs through their trees hasn’t carried water for over a year now and the trees show it.
It’s ironic that the old mango trees are dying as the town promotes a new mango festival.