Mexico's Water Shortage Turning Into Food Crisis

dead corn photo

Photo by Andrewbain via Flickr CC
California and Australia have lately been making the headlines for drought problems. But Mexico is facing the worst drought it has seen in the last 69 years. That on top of the already existing water crisis, precipitated by terrible water management, is beginning to push things over the edge. Corn, wheat and other crops are faring badly, and officials are actually hoping to see a hurricane hit soon just so a looming food crisis might be averted. After months of drought, spring crops are failing and food may need to be imported, causing costs to rise. According to the article in the Los Angeles Times, "The need for rain is so dire that water officials have been rooting openly for a hurricane or two to provide a good drenching. "We really are in a difficult situation," said Felipe Arreguin Cortes, deputy technical director for Mexico's National Water Commission."

Officals are saying that El NiƱo is at least in part to blame, the cyclical warming pattern that causes weather changes, including taking rains elsewhere. We can consider that this, combined with global warming's role in drought and water shortages in the first place have all added up to to the reported more than $1 billion in losses from spring crops, a loss both in food and income that officials say will be felt into next year.

What is a kernel of positivity in this issue is that a strong realization that water management techniques must be revamped in order to avoid this problem in the future. Regardless of cyclical weather patterns or larger scale changes in rainfall globally, new ways of managing water are going to be needed to avoid this kind of crisis in the future. It's something the entire globe, not just Mexico, is slowly having to come to terms with. Mexico City was once a lake, but now, thanks to over-pumping water reserves and poor management, desertification could be in its future - as is the case with many other areas. Returning to techniques that fall more in sync with natural systems (as the article notes) in the area could help, but it's a matter of implementing much needed changes in an area already hurting. That may mean any changes will be slow to come.

More on Mexico's Water Problems
Mexico City Aims for Water Self-Sufficiency by 2020
Busybody Microbes Clean Up Mexico's Dirty Water
We Use How Much Water? Scary Water Footprints, Country by Country

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