Drought conditions covering 85 percent of Mexico, lakes and reservoirs drying up

Drought conditions covering 85 percent of Mexico, lakes and reservoirs drying up

Drought conditions are now covering 85 percent of Mexico in what is described as its worst in 30 years. As of Thursday, April 22, 2021, lakes and reservoirs have been reportedly drying up, including the country's second-largest body of freshwater.

According to Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico City, the drought was the worst in three decades, and the problem is evident in lakes and reservoirs, which are now at critically low levels.

Nine million residents in the capital rely on reservoirs, including Villa Victoria and two others, which together are at 44 percent capacity. Most of the rest comes from wells within city limits, but the city's own water table is plummeting, and leaky pipes waste much of what is brought into the area.

Isais Salgado, a 60-year-old resident, said Thursday that it took three and a half hours to pump water into his 10 000 liters (2 641 gallons) tanker-- a task that usually takes him just 30 minutes.

"The reservoir is drying up. If they keep pumping water out, by May it will be completely dry, and the fish will die."

Sheinbaum added that as the dry spell worsened, more people have tended to water their gardens, exacerbating the problem.

Rogelio Angeles Hernandez, a 61-year-old resident, has been fishing in Villa Victoria for the past 30 years, said the real impact will be on the people in Mexico City.

In Michoacan state, the country is at risk of losing Lake Cuitzeo, its second-largest lake. According to Alberto Gomez-Tagle, a biologist and researcher who chairs the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Michoacan, roughly 75 percent of the lake bed has now dried up.

Deforestation and roads built across the lake, as well as diversion of water for human use, have contributed to the problem, but three extremely dry years have played a major role.

"2019, 2020 and so far 2021 have been drier than average, and that has had a cumulative effect on the lake,"

As a result, dust storms are hitting shoreline communities, said Michoacan governor Silvano Aureoles. Communities may have to start planting vegetation on the lake bed to avoid such storms, he added. 

Residents around the lake said only six now remain of the 19 fish species once present in Cuitzeo. Dust storms have also caused respiratory and intestinal infections among locals.

Featured image credit: El Heraldo de Mexico/YouTube

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