Mexico: A Nation in Drought

Photo: Jain Irrigation


Mexico is now facing its worst drought in over 30 years.

Currently, about 85 percent of the country’s national territory is experiencing drought conditions, according to the National Water Commission (Conagua).

As a result, the country’s lakes and dams are drying up, including the second-largest body of freshwater in the country, Cuitzeo Lake in Michoacán. 

Mexico City, home to roughly 20 percent of the nation’s population, is being hit particularly hard, since it depends on outside sources for its potable water supply.

According to Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, the capital’s reservoirs are at a historic low, which could lead to water rationing in the weeks ahead.

Some of those reservoirs, such as Villa Victoria, to the west of Mexico City, are barely at a third of their normal capacity, she said, and the rainy season is not due to begin yet, she said.

Sheinbaum said that geometric forecasts indicate that it could be another month and a half before any significant rain falls in the region.

A full 70 percent of the Cuitzeo Lake bed is now dry, she added.

Sheinbaum said that drought is the main cause of the water shortage, although residents in Michoacán have said that the roads built across the lake and the diversion of water for human consumption have also played a role in the lake drying up.

Michoacán Governor Silvano Aureoles reported that the drought has also led to sandstorms and a decrease in fishing.

Farmers in central Mexico are also feeling the pinch.

Persistent heat and a lack of rainfall are drying out the land, particularly in southern states like Oaxaca, Chiapas and Quintana Roo.

And since many small farmers in Mexico lack access to irrigation, their crops are dying on the land.

Crops that cover hundreds of thousands of acres have been lost this year and roughly more than half a million cattle have died in arid pastures.

…April 26, 2021


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