Japan residents were frightened by the ballistic missile North Korea fired over their country the other day. This move by North Korea has many questioning if it was in response to the growing alliance between the U.S. and South Korea,…
Mexico Water Crisis Continues – Perspectives from Syracuse U. Experts
The water available to many northern Mexico residents is drying up for reasons that go beyond the impact of climate warming. Political decisions, international water law, and dwindling resources are also to blame, say two Syracuse University professors.
Elizabeth Carter is an assistant professor of civil engineering and earth sciences at Syracuse University whose research specialty includes the study of hydroclimatic extremes.
Professor Carter says:
“The drought that is surfacing old bodies in Lake Meade is triggering a humanitarian crisis in northern Mexico right now, and I am really frustrated by the news coverage of it for two reasons. First, there is almost no news coverage. More than half of Mexico’s municipalities are currently facing water shortages, major cities are bussing water in, and it’s barely registering on U.S. news outlets. Second, I take issue with how the crisis is being framed. Mexican news outlets are blaming corruption in policing, corporate water use, failure of the Mexican government to enforce a new constitutional amendment declaring water to be a human right. This NYT article focuses on climate change, which is definitely at play here, but this is not purely a natural disaster.
“There is an elephant in the room. This crisis is about international water law. Most of northern Mexico’s major freshwater sources, like the Rio Grande, the Colorado River, and most major aquifers, flow across the US/Mexico border…at least they used to. Massive engineering interventions in the US, including the Hoover Dam, Glenn Canyon Dam, and the Central Arizona Project (Colorado River), the Closed Basin Project, the San Juan-Chama trans-mountain diversion project, the Middle Rio Grande Project, and the Rio Grande Project (Rio Grande) have northern Mexico’s major rivers running dry before they reach the border, even in humid years. With surface water, at least there are treaties in place to manage allotments. There are no international agreements about the use of shared groundwater resources, and US groundwater law has created a corporate feeding frenzy that is draining shared aquifers so rapidly that the southwest is actually sinking.
“U.S. policy and infrastructure have played a major role in propagating this crisis. It feels important that people in the U.S. hear that side of the story right now.
Gladys McCormick is an associate professor in the history department at SU and an expert on Mexico-U.S. relations.
Professor McCormick says: