Background of 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 3,980 m³ in 2017. Almost 35 million Mexicans live under severe water scarcity conditions.

Water Challenges

In the Greater Metropolitan Region of the Valley of Mexico, it is expected that water availability will be 136 m³/person/day by 2030, putting at risk the region’s water security. Groundwater represents the source for 37% of national water consumption, and yet 106 out of 635 aquifers are being overexploited. Mexico City’s aquifer –representing approximately 705 of its source of water – is being overexploited by 50% more than its replenishment rate. As a result, certain regions in the city are sinking up to 50 cm/year, causing damages of up to US$ 1,000 million every year.

There are two major drivers of the high demand for water in Mexico: agriculture and urbanization. Agriculture plays an important role in economic development in Mexico. It represents 8.4% of the GDP and supports income generation and poverty alleviation. However, agriculture is extremely water intensive in Mexico. In fact, Mexico’s agriculture sector consumes 76% of available water. Furthermore, disinvestment in irrigation infrastructure and unsustainable agricultural water practices have led to low water productivity in the sector.

Approximately 80% of Mexico’s population lives in cities. As urbanization increases, competition between water users will also intensify. Drawbacks in water utilities’ performance affect drinking water provision (especially in peri-urban and rural areas) and wastewater treatment as only 20% of wastewater is treated. Climate change adds great uncertainty, exacerbating an already complex combination of challenges.