Mexico in Numbers: Drought

Although hurricanes have battered the western coast of Mexico, a lot of the remainder of the nation remains to be parched. Months of below-average rainfall have left many of the heart and north of Mexico in average to distinctive drought. The worst-affected states have seen reservoirs run dry, crops fail and 1000’s of cattle die.

Mexico’s Drought Monitor, revealed each two weeks by the Nationwide Meteorological Service (MSN), reveals that the share of the nation affected by drought has lastly began to drop – from 75% on Sep. 30 to 59% on Oct. 31. 

As of Oct. 31, 59% of the nation was affected by average to distinctive drought. (SMN/MND)

Not since 2012 has drought in Mexico been so widespread – with 1,614 municipalities throughout the nation in a state of drought. Of those, 39 are rated at stage 4 – probably the most severe class of drought. An extra 461 are vulnerable to drought as a consequence of “abnormally low” low rainfall in 2023. Some analysts have claimed that it’s the driest yr within the Mexican countryside since 1957, with 78% of rural municipalities affected. This yr has been the second driest since data started in 2004.

Drought circumstances within the Valley of Mexico – residence to nearly 20 million individuals – have now affected 98% of the area. 

The Nationwide Agricultural Council has known as for extra authorities funding in hydrological infrastructure, warning that Mexico’s water shortages are “an issue we are able to’t maintain laying aside.” 

However how dangerous is Mexico’s drought, comparatively? On this version of Mexico in Numbers, we have a look at how 2023 compares to previous years, which areas and sectors of the nation are most affected and the way Mexico ranks globally for water stress.

How does the drought examine with the final 5 years?

Mexico has suffered more and more extreme drought for the final 5 years (2018-2023), after comparatively good rainfall throughout the earlier 5 (2013-2018).

On the driest level of 2023 in September, 75% of the nation was in drought, 55.8% in extreme drought, 31.6% in excessive drought and 1.8% in distinctive drought. Within the final 5 years, comparably dry circumstances have solely been seen in Might/June 2021, when as much as 75.6% of the nation was in drought, 54.8% in extreme drought, 21.3% in excessive drought and a couple of.8% in distinctive drought.

This chart reveals the share of municipalities with average to extreme drought in the identical interval (as of Oct. 31) from 2018 to 2023. (SMN/MND)

Nevertheless, this yr’s drought has had a very extreme influence as a result of it has lasted for much longer than common, previous the purpose when Mexico would usually anticipate to see autumn rains. Drought figures for October present an general fall, however the nation stays extremely dry, with 15 of 32 states experiencing drought in at the very least 70% of municipalities.

How does the drought measure up traditionally?

Mexico’s final extreme drought was in 2011, when as much as 87% of the nation confronted drought circumstances and as much as 23% noticed distinctive drought. Once more, nevertheless, the worst circumstances had been earlier within the yr, with the wet season narrowing the scope of the drought by fall.

Though the Drought Monitor solely offers detailed figures from 2003, the SMN’s historic data present that September 2023 was the driest September since 1941 and the most popular since 1953.

The place is the drought most acute?

September’s drought affected nearly all of central and northern Mexico, extending over 96.5% of the territory within the northeast. Probably the most acute areas of remarkable drought had been in Durango and within the Huasteca area, to the southeast of San Luis Potosí. This has been exacerbated by a scarcity of rainfall, which might usually present some respite and refill important reservoirs between June and October. With out this rainfall, stress on current acquifers and different water storage is elevated. 

Climatological experiences in September confirmed a 74.4% deficit in rainfall for that month alone, making it the worst month for rain to date this yr. The SMN additionally reported that the states of Guerrero, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz all recorded their worst September rainfall since 1941.

This chart reveals 2023 amassed rainfall (blue line) versus regular amassed rainfall (black line). (SMN)

The worst influence on agriculture has been in Chihuahua, the place 193,266 hectares of crops had been misplaced between January and September; adopted by Zacatecas, with 153,684 hectares misplaced, and San Luis Potosí with 64,637. A complete of 502,550 hectares have been misplaced throughout Mexico, the very best determine since at the very least 2018.

Which crops have been most affected?

The drought’s influence on farming has sparked fears of meals shortages within the coming months. The crops most affected are beans, with 165,716 hectares misplaced between January and September; grain corn, with 158,134 hectares misplaced; and forage oats, with 96,808 hectares misplaced.

Drought has brought on 1000’s of hectares of crop failure, with Chihuahua because the worst-affected state from January to September this yr. (MND)

The livestock trade has additionally been arduous hit. In Durango, 18,000 cattle had been reported to have died as a consequence of water shortages by August, with extreme impacts additionally seen in ranching states reminiscent of Jalisco and Veracruz.

How does Mexico rank globally for water stress?

The World Sources Institute grades Mexico 4.0 out of 5 for water stress. This locations it on the borderline between the “excessive” and “extraordinarily excessive” classes, with as much as 80% of the territory affected.

Globally, the WRI ranks Mexico because the 26th most water-stressed nation worldwide.

With experiences from El Economista

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