Weeks Of Water Rationing In Northeast Mexico

Intense Regional Drought

3 Jul 2022 by The Water Diplomat

The industrial city of Monterrey in north-eastern Mexico has experienced weeks of water rationing amid a severe drought which has covered more than 80% of the country since March.

As of the 21st of June, Monterrey’s three supply dams were at 45%, 8% and 2% of their supply capacity. At the time of writing, the Cerro Prieto and La Boca dams were within days of being emptied and the remaining supply dam, El Cuchillo, remained at 45% capacity.

During the month of June, the city began limiting water access to six hours a day, although in some neighbourhoods, water has stopped flowing altogether.

Monterrey is not the only area suffering from drought: the muinicipalities of Parás, Sabinas, Hidalgo, Vallecillo, Villaldama and Anáhuac have experienced extreme drought this year.  Cadereyta, Escobedo, Pesquería, Santiago and San Nicolás de los Garza have experienced severe drought.

In the area, some 65% of water consumption is for agricultural use, 25% for urban consumption, 3% for industry, and 6% for a variety of other uses. The spring chili pepper harvest has failed.

In a publication in Nature Climate Change in March, three researchers noted a rapid intensification of a ‘megadrought’ in southwestern North America which has affected northern Mexico as well. The period from 2000-2021 was the driest 22-year period since at least the year 800.

In a separate publication, researchers warn that climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages and that new water management strategies will be required, including water demand management, improved conjunctive use of surface and groundwater, and improved climate forecasting.