Queretaro Most Affected by Droughts in 2023 So Far: CONAGUA
On Jan. 15, 2023, the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) released a report about Mexico’s drought. In Queretaro, 17 out of 18 municipalities experience moderate to severe levels of drought, making it the Mexican state that has suffered the most from the issue so far in 2023.
The report classifies the types of drought as exceptional, extreme, severe and moderate. Regarding Queretaro, 35.2% of its territory is abnormally dry, 35.5% moderate and 29.3% severe. It does not present extreme or exceptional drought conditions.
Eight municipalities, Pinal de Amoles, Colon, Corregidora, Ezequiel Montes, Jalpan de Serra, Landa de Matamoros, El Marques and Queretaro, reported moderate levels of drought. This implies crops and pastures are damaged, a high risk of fires is present and low water levels are seen in rivers, streams, reservoirs, waterholes and wells. In this scenario, voluntary restrictions on water use are suggested.
Nine municipalities, Amealco de Bonfil, Cadereyta de Montes, Huimilpan, Pedro Escobedo, Peñamiller, San Joaquin, San Juan del Rio, Tequisquiapan and Toliman, present severe levels of drought. The characteristics of a severe drought include probable losses in crops or pastures- Similarly, a high risk of fires, and water scarcity is observed. On this level, restrictions on the use of water should be mandatory, CONAGUA suggests.
Arroyo Seco is the only municipality classified as abnormally dry, which is a condition of dryness, not a category of drought. It occurs at the beginning or end of a drought period. At the beginning of a period of drought. it may cause delayed planting of annual crops, limited growth of crops or pastures and higher fire risks. At the end of the drought period, the water deficit may persist and as a consequence, pastures and crops may not fully recover.
Along with Aguascalientes, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Jalisco and Nuevo Leon, Queretaro is one of the six states suffering from droughts across the territory ranging from abnormally dry to some degree of drought. Moreover, Queretaro has the highest percentage of municipalities with drought as 94.4% are affected. After Queretaro comes Hidalgo with 91.7%, Sinaloa with 88.9%, Durango with 82.1% and Michoacan with 81.4%.
According to the National Meteorological Service (SMN), 80% of the country has been affected by the lack of rain and runoff in the past months. CONAGUA’s report stated that during the first two weeks of January 2023, Mexico registered rainfall deficits. "The most intense were observed along the Sierra Madre Occidental, the northeast and south of Veracruz and northern Oaxaca," the document reads.