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 Niño is at least in part to blame, the cyclical warming pattern causing weather changes that have taken rains elsewhere this year. This, combined with global warming’s role in drought, as well as water shortages in the first place have added up to upwards of $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. Mexico City was once a lake, but now, thanks to over-pumping water reserves and poor management, desertification could be in its future. Returning to techniques that fall more in sync with natural systems in the area could help, but it’s a matter of implementing much needed changes in an area already hurting.