Baja California's new aqueduct. Baja California's new aqueduct. reforma

Farmers fear effects of Mexicali aqueduct

75% of the water will supply Constellation Brands' new brewery

The construction of an aqueduct in Baja California that seems to favor an American beverages company over local farmers has raised concerns about water availability and its fair distribution.

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The third largest beer maker in the United States, Constellation Brands, is currently building a US $1.5-billion plant in Mexicali, capital of the northern state.

Expected to produce 1 billion liters of beverages annually, the plant is estimated to require 15 million cubic meters of water per year, or close to 6% of the state population’s water needs during that period of time.

The Ejido Villahermosa-Mexicali aqueduct will carry water over 47.5 kilometers starting in the Valley of Mexicali, where deep wells take water from aquifers that already show a yearly deficit of 456 million cubic meters, according to official documents published in April 2015.

The aqueduct will have the capacity to transport 20 million cubic meters of water a year, of which 75% will feed directly into Constellation Brands’ Mexicali brewery.

The state is constructing the 442-million-peso (close to $22 million) project, using federal resources.

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Community land owners — or ejidatarios — in the Valley of Mexicali were granted ownership of the aquifer, located beneath their land, in 1944, when it was recognized in a bilateral agreement signed by the Mexican and American governments that its use was to be solely for farming purposes.

The National Farmers’ Confederation has estimated that 1,500 families residing in the Valley of Mexicali would see their farming of 5,000 hectares negatively affected by the construction of the aqueduct.

In a report on the project, the state water commission lauded the state government for “boosting job creation in all its municipalities.”

One of those job-creating projects is the Constellation Brands brewery, continued the water authority, adding that “the main requirement for this kind of industry is water availability.”

The report acknowledges that “the agricultural valley is the most reliable source of water in the state.”

Source: Reforma (sp)

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  • BUCEPHALUS

    Calling this an American venture is more than a bit of a stretch. The brewery is being built for Groupo Modelo SAB, a Mexican company and brewers of Corona, Modelo and all the other beers under the Modelo banner. In 2013, Constellation bought the U.S. distribution rights for Corona and several other Mexican beers for roughly $5.3 billion from Anheuser-Busch. AB InBev had to divest the assets to get Justice Department approval for its $20.1 billion takeover of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo SAB.
    This brewery has is being built to take advantage of the close proximity of the California market and beyond.

  • Leroy Essek

    In the near future a company called Joi Scientific will provide the lowest cost energy and desalinated ocean and brackish water as a free byproduct of generating zero pollution energy 24/7.

  • Michael C

    Another example of sucking up, burning or cutting down every available natural resource for IMMEDIATE profit, and the future be damned!

  • kallen

    Retracted comment.

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