Background About Our Work in Mexico

About Mexico

Mexico is a federal republic in North America and the thirteenth largest independent nation in the world, with over 113 million inhabitants.

Per capita water availability in the country has diminished from 18,000 m3 per capita per year in 1950 to 3,900 m3 in 2013. Almost 35 million Mexicans live under severe water scarcity conditions.

Water Challenges

Of the 731 river basins across Mexico, about 105 present important water availability constraints and inter-sectorial water use competition. Similarly, groundwater resources are also being depleted, and of the 653 existing aquifers, 106 have been severely over-exploited. Many of these aquifers represent the main water source for small and medium sized human settlements and agriculture. A ‘gap analysis’ conducted recently estimates that in 2030 the water gap could exceed 23 million m3/year.

Climate change is also affecting the water cycle across the country. Severe droughts are affecting the country, and in 2011 almost 40% of the territory suffered the worst historic drought in 70 years. Floods are also a perennial problem causing loss of life losses and significant material damage.

The country’s main water challenges include:
• Groundwater overexploitation
• Unsustainable agricultural water management
• Weak capacity among many water utility operators
• Lack of inter-institutional coordination to implement integrated water resources management

Water resources management in Mexico is organized through 13 Hydrological Administrative Regions (HARs) for planning, programming and management purposes. Each of these regions faces different water security challenges. For example the North and North Eastern territories suffer from extreme droughts and the South and South-Eastern from severe floods; the Central Highlands from extreme and increasing inter-use water competition.

Mexico’s water situation creates important governance challenges that have to be addressed through institutional, legal, financial, and policy reforms, as well as capacity-building and social awareness initiatives. The National Water Commission (CONAGUA) is working steadfastly to steer the country to achieve water security, including the enablement of purposeful partnerships with different institutions and organizations.