Mexico Declares Drought Emergency
Associated Press, April 17, 2000
The government has declared nine drought-stricken states in northern Mexico disaster areas, clearing the way for federal aid, the government news agency Notimex reported Monday. States across northern Mexico have been suffering from prolonged droughts and have experienced less than half of the average rainfall, according to Notimex reports. Similar drought conditions spread across the region last year, killing cattle, parching crops and forcing some communities to truck in drinking water.
Farmers Resort to Using Sewage Water in Dry Mexico
Nando Media/Associated Press, May 25, 1999
Meteorologists at the National Water Commission say it could be the worst drought in Mexico's history. It is the second consecutive dry year across northern Mexico - and for some states the fifth consecutive drought. Federal authorities have already declared five northern states disaster areas and plan to add seven more states within a few days. Rainfall in Sonora state is 92 percent below average this year. In Nayarit state, rainfall this year has been zero. The 20 big dams and water reservoirs in the five states declared disaster areas are down to an average of 19 percent capacity. Even the Rio Grande, which separates Mexico and the United States, is running almost dry along a long stretch of the border. To make matters worse, a heat wave is sweeping northern Mexico, especially the Pacific coast states. Temperatures in some parts of Sonora and Sinaloa states hovered around 110 degrees last week. Last year's drought was followed by disastrous hurricanes - including Mitch - that brought heavy downpours. ... Mexico is forced to import corn and wheat from the United States. A chief export product, beef cattle, is now under threat. More than 10,000 cattle have already died, and cattlemen fear more will perish if they don't sacrifice herds prematurely. Agriculture Department officials estimate several million acres of basic grains will not be planted this year if the drought lasts for another three weeks, forcing Mexico to import at least $3.5 billion worth of wheat and corn.