In just 10 years’ time Mexico could be suffering a widespread water crisis, warns the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA).
The warning came in a recent presentation on water vulnerability in Mexico in the face of climate change by IMTA’s coordinator of hydrology, Mario López.
It revealed that expected temperature increases will negatively impact the amount of water that feeds underground aquifers.
“The aquifers that supply bigger populations are already overexploited. In the long term we can expect the water reserves to diminish,” said López.
The study identified four particular areas with greater vulnerability to water scarcity: northern Sinaloa, the metropolitan area of Mexico City, the Conchos river basin in Chihuahua and the Lerma-Chapala basin, which is found in five states: Guanajuato, Michoacán, Jalisco, State of México and Querétaro.
Other critical areas included the metropolitan area of Monterrey, central Sinaloa and northeastern Sonora.
According to projections included in the study, some regions in Mexico could experience a 5.5-degree C temperature increase between 2075 and 2099.
The alarms raised by the IMTA were echoed by the Querétaro State Water Commission, which warned that growth has taken its toll on the region’s aquifers.
Water commissioner Enrique Abedrop Rodríguez said studies indicate sufficient water for the next eight to 10 years.
In order to further assess the condition of the state’s water reserves, Abedrop has proposed the creation of an office of hydrology within his commission, tasked with studying the several groundwater reserves and the 12 aquifers.
The water commission is also analyzing five water supply alternatives for the state’s capital, which include the Batán-Quiotillos aquifer.
“We had considered bringing water from the Moctezuma River but that represented a 32-billion-peso (US $1.7-billion) investment, which we don’t have. We are therefore considering closer alternatives,” explained Abedrop.
Farming consumes 83% of the state’s water supply, domestic use takes 14% and the industrial sector 3%.