Drought Emergency in Mexico, Old and New

July 30, 2022

NASA Earth Observatory:

Water levels in the Cerro Prieto reservoir, near Guadalupe in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo León, have been declining for years. But a persistent and deepening drought over the past two years has brought the reservoir, built in the 1980s, to its lowest point yet. In July 2022, the reservoir dropped to 0.5 percent of its capacity of 393 million cubic meters (318,000 acre-feet).

The images above, acquired by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, show Cerro Prieto reservoir on July 7, 2022, at right, and on July 20, 2015, at left. 

Monterrey, the state capital of Nuevo León and Mexico’s second-largest metropolitan area, depends on the Cerro Prieto reservoir for part of its water supply. The reservoir’s depletion has hampered industry, agriculture, and tourism. In the second week of July 2022, when temperatures soared to 40°C (104°F) in Nuevo León, water levels dropped so low in Cerro Prieto that water could no longer be extracted from the lake. In response, Mexico’s national water commission, Conagua, announced emergency measures that included redirecting some industrial and agricultural water allotments to ensure residential supplies.

At the end of June 2022, two-thirds of Mexico was in drought conditions, affecting more than 21 million people. The northern states along the United States border were most affected. Nearly a quarter of the state of Chihuahua and a third of the state of Coahuilawere in exceptional or extreme drought.

There are 130 Million people in Mexico.

France 24:

Mexico has declared a drought emergency to enable authorities to take special measures to guarantee water supplies in hard-hit areas. 

The steps are designed to deal with the effects of a “severe, extreme or exceptional” drought, the national water authority Conagua said in a statement Tuesday.

Among the measures, holders of water concessions for agricultural or industrial use can be ordered to allow their use by third parties.

Authorities in parts of Mexico, including the northern industrial powerhouse of Monterrey, have been forced to ration water use due to depleted reservoirs.

A heat wave and dearth of rain means that households in Monterrey have had running water for only a few hours a day for several weeks.

In some hillside neighborhoods, it has been more than 50 days since residents last saw a drop from their faucets.

In the northwestern state of Baja California, a lack of water supplies has sparked protests in some towns.

In parts of Mexico City, such as the impoverished district of Iztapalapa — home to 1.8 million people — it is common for the authorities to ration water and send tanker trucks to alleviate shortages.

Drought emergency declared in New Mexico, as well as Old.

ABC News:

The city of Las Vegas has declared an emergency over its water supply after the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak Fire, the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, contaminated the Gallinas River. The city relies solely on water from the river, which has been tainted with large amounts of fire-related debris and ash, according to city officials.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Grisham said in a tweet that $2.25 million in state funding has been made available to ensure residents receive access to safe drinking water.

The city is currently relying on reservoirs which, at the current consumption rate, contain less than 50 days worth of stored water, according to Las Vegas Mayor Louie Trujillo.

The combination of heat, drought, and wildfire ash is a reminder of the deadly synergy that climate changes bring, intensifying critical situations, and revealing vulnerabilities.

One Response to “Drought Emergency in Mexico, Old and New”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    The state of Nuevo Leone is the second from the top right (it has a tiny bit that touches Texas). I think part of the problem may be poor water management.

    Compare it to Nevada:


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