Mexico has declared a drought emergency; the declaration will allow Conagua, Mexico’s National Water Commission, responsible for water management in the country, to implement measures to ensure the water supply in basins or municipalities affected by drought, informs Phys.org.
The measures will apply to areas of the country experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions as per Mexico’s Drought Monitor (the three highest levels of drought intensity shown by the monitor), right now affecting areas in the northernmost part of Mexico. According to the drought report from July 4, 571 municipalities – 23% of the total – are experiencing some level of drought.
Authorities in some of these areas, including the city of Monterrey, an important industrial and business centre in the north-eastern state of Nuevo León, have started to ration water as water levels in reservoirs hit record lows. The city started to limit water access to six hours per day last June. Schools were forced to adjust class schedules, and consumers emptied supermarkets of bottled water.
The drought has led to protests over water inequality and public anger against soda and beer companies who continue to withdraw water as per their concessions, while residents suffer restrictions. In Nuevo León, Conagua has issued concessions allowing industry to extract 4% of the water resources. That amounts to 100 times the portion allotted for domestic use. The rest of the water is used in agriculture and the public sector.
The measures specify that holders of water concessions for agricultural or industrial purposes may have to allow water use by third parties or by Conagua temporarily. There could be temporary limits on water rights, namely a reduction in the volume of water allotted to concession holders in basins that experience severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions.