“We are panicked, because we don’t know when the water will come back on”

Mexico’s industrial hub is out of drinking water for a large portion of it’s population, and event that echoes similar emergencies around the world. As is the case with most climate driven crises, Monterrey’s disaster is the result of an extended drought and unenlightened human activities. 

Water restrictions began in March as reservoirs that supply the city dropped precipitously. The dams are rated at 45%, 2% and 8% of their capacity, with the latter two down to a few days supply left. Higher temperature trends have also dried up the city’s water reserves. Another contributing factor is greed. Private ranchers, businesses and landowners have tapped into the aquifers with high capacity wells, drawing out more than water use laws allow. Illegal corporate water grabs from rivers that feed the dams also impact the dire situation. 

Thousands of homes have resorted to storing water in buckets after faucets dried up weeks ago. In scenes reminiscent of similar crisis from Brazil to South Africa, water tanks have been set up so that the citizenry can collect water in bins and buckets. Street riots have begun. The pattern is the same.

The common denominator? Wealthy people get water. Poor people don’t.