Mexico Faces Coming Water Crisis

A dam planned for the Huentitan Canyon northeast of Guadalajara, Mexico, is becoming a flashpoint of political controversy and a grim illustration of the water problems spreading across the country. Guadalajara, like many Mexican cities, has grown sharply in population without adding any new water sources, and now faces periodic rationing and a growing crisis. Desperate to create a new source, it has proposed a dam in the canyon that critics say is poorly placed, with no plan for how to purify the highly polluted water of the Santiago River. For more than a decade, Mexico has not invested in water development, and now the aquifers that provided much of its drinking water are polluted or dry, crumbling municipal drainage systems waste some 40 percent of the water that flows through them, and virtually every city with a population over 100,000 has problems finding clean water. President Vicente Fox has called water an issue of “national security.”