The dramatic drought in Mexico threatens water supplies in cities and agricultural production

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Even though I know they forecast rains over the next few days in several states of the country, the severe drought and water shortages that have hit Mexico in recent months could continue affecting to the country in the coming weeks, raising the concern of the authorities about the damage it would cause to crops and the supply of the vital liquid in large cities, including Mexico City.

The temperatures registered this week in some of the most important agricultural areas of the country exceeded the 40 degrees Celsius, mainly in the northwestern states. This situation has generated worry among producers and authorities, who say there is a risk of having insufficient production due to the lack of irrigation in the crops.

The intense drought that Mexico is experiencing, the worst in recent decades, has caused the Bookings of water for irrigation in the country are quite low. Of the 138 fangs for agricultural use, 95 are below half their capacity, 45 of them with levels below 20 %.

Against this background, authorities they have begun to ‘plant’ clouds of silver iodide in the states of Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Sonora, which they hope can induce rain.

The consequences of the drought

The lack of access to water in the Mexican livestock and agricultural sectors could cause an increase in the price of food, particularly in basic grains, affecting thousands of farm workers, transporters and merchants. Also, a large number of Mexican families would have greater difficulties in accessing these products and their food security would be compromised.

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However, the effects of the lack of water are not only felt in the agro-livestock regions, but some of the country’s cities have also been affected by their scarcity. With close to 70 % of the dams below 50% of its capacity, the large cities of the country have also suffered the lack of liquid. This is the case from the Guadalajara metropolitan area, where some areas have not received potable water for months, while in Monterrey the authorities are preparing cuts in the supply starting in August.

In the same way, Mexico City, with more than 20 million inhabitants, has seen its water supply diminished as a result of the low levels registered in the dams of the Cutzamala basin system, which feed part of the capital and other regions of the center of the country. As of August, the flow that will receive the city will go from 15.8 cubic meters per second to 15.3, a measure that will apply until the end of the year.

What alternatives do you have?

Considering that much of Mexico receives Between 50 and 80% of its annual rainfall between July and September, the authorities expect that the start of the hurricane season will bring rain around the country, which will reduce high temperatures and alleviate the lack of irrigation in some areas, in addition to raising the levels of the dams.

However, it is also necessary to adopt new water policies. In this sense, within the framework of the forum ‘The human right to water: progress and challenges’, legislators, government agencies and international organizations they urged Congress to work on a new National Water Law that guarantees the protection, regulation and responsible distribution of the resource, and that recognizes it as a human right.

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Likewise, the deputy director general of Water Administration, Elena Burns Stuck, he pointed that it is necessary to modify the system used to grant concessions for the exploitation of aquifers, which has privatized and created a water market that mainly benefits large companies, such as mining companies and soft drink producers, at the expense of the population.

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