Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version

February 1999


Published in Drought Network News Vol. 11, No. 1, February 1999. Published by the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


During recent years, severe and extreme droughts in Mexico and their consequent water deficits have become more recurrent and persistent, according to historic records and the experiences of those who have lived through these events.

In Mexico, agriculture consumes more than 85% of the available water. When the available water is insufficient to satisfy agricultural requirements, impacts can be acute. In extreme cases, lack of water has caused severe economic, social, and environmental crises, and recovery from these crises has taken much time and money.

The regions that are most affected by drought have some common characteristics: they are the most vulnerable regions, they are more productive than other regions, and they have a greater demand for water than other regions do. The north, northwest, and northeast regions, in which are located the most important irrigation zones and most of the industrial plants, constitute 70% of the country, but these regions receive less than 40% of the country’s total rainfall. The southeast region, constituting 30% of the country, receives 60% or more of the total rain; in this part of the country, the rivers are larger with regular flows, and there are wide humid zones where irrigation is unnecessary. (Figure 1 shows the main hydrogeographic regions of Mexico.) The few remaining nonirrigated areas, which benefit from summer rains, have also been drastically affected by drought, because they do not have alternate sources of viable water or fast response capabilities.

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