One Million Head of Cattle Dead in Mexican Drought. Build NAWAPA XXI Now!
May 7, 2012 • 8:05AM

The head of Mexico's National Cattlemen's Association, Osvaldo Chazaro Montalvo, reported on May 3 that over one million head of cattle have died in Mexico, as a result of the drought that has devastated the country for well over a year. The deaths were due to lack of forage, or simply because ranchers abandoned their lands, faced with the impossibility of continuing to raise cattle.

This is one of the dramatic cases characterizing a crisis that cries out for the construction of NAWAPA XXI, to be able to provide this nation with the water it needs.

Equally dramatic is the report that the dams of San Luis Potosi contain only enough water for the next two months, given the lack of rain. Should there be no rain in May, it will be very difficult to provide water even to the capital and other urban areas, warns Jose German Martinez Flores of the State Water Commission. The state's dams are only at 35% of their capacity.

Also threatened is the water supply in the Valley of Mexico, where dams are filled only to 58% of their capacity.

On April 30, the lower house of the Mexican Congress voted up an initial allocation of 15 billion pesos, for an emergency fund to address the effects of the drought in 27 states. On May 5, Gerardo Sanchez Garcia, a federal deputy who also heads up the National Peasant Confederation (CNC), urged President Felipe Calderon not to veto the legislation—he did veto a similar bill passed earlier this year for drought relief—because the situation is alarming, especially in the northern central part of the country where farms are shutting down.

Severe damage has been done to at least 3 million hectares used to produce food, Sanchez said, and the 15 billion pesos are urgently needed. He pointed out that there is a dangerous scarcity of goods and services in the 31,500 communal farms and communities in the country, 80% of which produce food for the farmers who work them.