Mexico – Profile

The challenge

Mexico faces important water resources management, water supply and sanitation and water security challenges. Per capita water availability in the country has diminished from 18,000 m3/ca/year in 1950 to 3,900 m3/ca/year in 2013. Almost 35 million Mexicans live under severe water scarcity conditions. Groundwater resources are 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/yr.

In terms of access to water supply and sanitation services Mexico has made important efforts. Nevertheless rural and peri-urban populations still suffer from a lack of access to these services. 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. Overall, the situation creates important water security challenges that have to be addressed through important institutional, legal, financial and policy reforms; as well as through capacity-building and social awareness initiatives.

Our role

The National Water Commission in Mexico (CONAGUA), the government institution entrusted with water resources management in the country first invited the 2030 WRG to work in Mexico in the fall of 2012. Together we have since undertaken the development of two gap analyses (the second in collaboration with McKinsey) to support the 2030 WRG Water agenda, an ambitious water strategy for the country.

Currently, under a newly established Cooperation Accord, 2030 WRG is making outreach efforts to foster strategic alliances with local stakeholders from the private, academic and other civil society organizations, in order to form a multi-stakeholder platform that will support CONAGUA in facing Mexico’s water security challenges. The joint Accord furthermore emphasizes the design and implementation of a capital prioritization system for CONAGUA, as well as an assessment of challenges and opportunities for private sector involvement in the water sector.