Sonora like its neighboring states on either side of the international border is caught in a deepening water crisis — one that is largely its own making but now made ever more grim by the onslaught of climate change with its more extreme weather, prolonged droughts, and rising temperatures.
Grupo México is a major player in this crisis because of massive consumption of water. The virtual absence until recently of public, media, and governmental scrutiny of Grupo México’s water-use and environmental practices is a testament to the company’s privileged status in Mexico and especially in Sonora.
The Mexican government is making modern mining dreams come true. Nonexistent or unenforced regulations –whether regarding occupational safety, environmental degradation, water extraction, and control of hazardous wastes – make Mexico one of the world’s most profitable countries for the mining industry. Government agencies – both federal and state – that have authority over the mining industry serve as mining boosters rather than as regulators.
Like other states in the Transborder West, population growth and economic development and modernization are products of hydraulic manipulations. Damming, diverting, and drilling have turned the Sonoran Desert – which covers nearly 40% of the state — into a green belt for agribusiness and the state’s urban core.
The question facing Sonora and most other states on both sides of the international border across the TransBorder West is whether governments and inhabitants are willing to accept the expense and impact of sustaining their hydraulic societies. Whether the benefits of new water megaprojects outweigh the costs?