Image credits: Kam Cheng
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News Article

Drought, Fires Ravage Mexico. What Can be Done?

By Sofía Hanna | Mon, 05/10/2021 - 09:35

Mexico is currently experiencing a great drought and numerous forest fires. To address this problem, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is currently establishing measures that favor the conservation of natural resources and forbid the use of fire in forests and agricultural areas of the country. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the National Forestry Commission (Conafor) have created a Specific Collaboration Agreement to allocate resources to fight fires in forests and agricultural areas, according to SADER. These fires have been worsened by the atypical drought Mexico is currently facing, which has provided the conditions for these fires to get out of control. To date, 18 percent of the fires that have occurred this season are a consequence of uncontrolled agricultural fires. Under these circumstances, the country needs to promote and adopt sustainable agriculture methods and proper management of crop residues, according to CIMMYT. These changes would allow the country to avoid a significant number of fires.

The drought has affected 84 percent of the country, putting Mexico in a precarious situation. “Large dams throughout Mexico are at exceptionally low levels, which depletes water resources for drinking, cultivating and irrigating,” says NASA. “The head of government of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, described it as the worst drought in 30 years for the city, which is home to some 9 million people.”

Moreover, in Mexico, the little water available is being used to generate hydroelectric energy, as previously mentioned in an MBN article. During this period, hydroelectric plants have increased their production by over 80 percent, in some cases more than 100 percent, over the same period last year, according to the National Center for Energy Control (Cenace). The problem is that the water that is used to generate electricity cannot be used later; it is water considered lost.

According to the International Corn and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), these environmental repercussions show the urgent need to move to new models of production and consumption in favor of the global climate. 2021 has represented a new type of environment where if current activities are continued, natural phenomena will continue to worsen.

On the meantime, the country might find a small reprieve as the natural phenomenon “La Niña” wanes, which is leading forecasters to predict that the warming waters will bring much-needed rain, mentioned an Uno TV article. 

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
CIMMYT, MBN, SADER, UNO TV
Photo by:   Kam Cheng, Unsplash
Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Junior Journalist and Industry Analyst