Wednesday, December 6, 2023

National Water Commission declares emergency over drought in northern states

The National Water Commission (Conagua) has declared a drought emergency due to severe, extreme and exceptional drought conditions in different parts of the country.

The authority made the declaration in an announcement published in the federal government’s official gazette on Tuesday.

“The … agreement [declaring the] beginning of an emergency is emitted due to the occurrence of severe, extreme or exceptional drought … in various catchment areas of the country,” Conagua said.

Published on July 4, the commission’s most recent drought report said that 571 of Mexico’s 2,471 municipalities – 23% of the total – are currently experiencing some level of drought. Five municipalities – four in Chihuahua and one in Coahuila – are affected by exceptional drought, while 53 municipalities across five northern states are in extreme drought.

Conagua drought map for Mexico
Conagua’s latest drought monitoring map shows northern areas in ‘extreme drought’ (red) and parts of northern and central Mexico in ‘severe drought’ (brown).

An additional 184 municipalities in 17 states face severe drought conditions. All told, almost half of national territory – 47.5% – is affected by some level of drought:

  • In Aguascalientes, Baja California and Sonora, 100% of municipalities are affected, according to Conagua.
  • In Coahuila, Chihuahua and Querétaro, more than 94% are experiencing drought.
  • In San Luis Potosi, over 80% are in drought, while at least 60% of municipalities in Baja California Sur, Guanajuato, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas face drought conditions.
  • Only 45% of Nuevo León municipalities are in drought, but the metropolitan area of Monterrey is currently experiencing a severe water crisis.

Conagua said in a statement that its emergency declaration allowed it to implement measures to guarantee the supply of water in places with severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions or those that face a reduction in supply.

It said that temporary limits on water rights could be imposed through reductions of volumes to concession holders in drought-affected areas. Industrial and agricultural concession holders may be temporarily required to yield all or part of their water to third parties or cede their water rights to Conagua, the commission said.

The measures are intended to guarantee the availability of water required by the public in rural and urban areas, Conagua said before calling on residents of drought-affected areas to limit their water use.

With reports from Reforma 

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