Drought Risk Management in Mexico: Progress and Challenges

Drought Risk Management in Mexico: Progress and Challenges

D. Ortega-Gaucin M. López Pérez F.I. Arreguín Cortés 

Mexican Institute of Water Technology

30 June 2016
| Citation



Drought is one of the most complex natural phenomena, which affects the most people in the world. In Mexico, drought has been a recurrent and persistent problem throughout its history. In recent years, drought has affected large agricultural areas and rural communities, leading to severe imbalances in the regional and national economies, as occurred during the 2011–2012 drought, the most severe of the last 70 years. Therefore, in this paper an analysis of the measures that have recently been implemented to cope with drought in Mexico, which highlights the beginning of the transition from a reactive approach based on the crisis management towards a proactive approach aimed to risk management, with the implementation of the National Program Against Drought (PRONACOSE, for its acronym in Spanish) launched in 2013 is presented. So, in this paper, the components of this program are presented, along with a brief description of the Programs of Preventive and Mitigation Drought Measures (PMPMS, for its acronym in Spanish), which have been formulated as an integral part of PRONACOSE for each of the 26 basin councils in the country. Similarly, some of the main future challenges in drought management and research needs identified during the formulation of the PMPMS are exposed. We concluded that there is no way to avoid a drought but there are ways to mitigate its impacts and reduce losses of those affected by the phenomenon. Drought risk can’t be completely eliminated, but preventive actions implemented in the future will be useful to mitigate its effects.


disaster, drought, mitigation, planning, prevention, risk management, vulnerability


[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Climate Change 2013: the Physical Science Basis, Summary for Policymakers, WMO/UNEP: Geneva, Switzerland, 33, 2013.

[2] National Institute for Statistics and Geography (INEGI), Estadísticas a propósito del día mundial contra la desertificación y la sequía, available at www.iieg.gob.mx/contenido/GeografiaMedioAmbiente/INEGI_Diamundialcontraladesertificacionylasequia.pdf

[3] National Meteorological Service (SMN), Monitor de Sequía en México, available at www.smn.cna.gob.mx/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Item id=74

[4] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), North American drought monitor, available at www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/drought/nadm/

[5] Knutson, C., Hayes, M. & Phillips, T., How to reduce drought risk, available at www. drought.unl.edu/portals/0/docs/risk.pdf

[6] Zhang, Q., Kobayashi, Y., Howell, M.A. & Zheng, Y., Drying up: What to do About Droughts in the People’s Republic of China, with a Case Study from Guiyang Municipality, Gizhou Province, Asian Development Bank: Mandaluyong City, Philippines, 66, 2012.

[7] Ortega-Gaucin, D., Sequía en Nuevo León: Vulnerabilidad, Impactos y Estrategias de Mitigación, Instituto del Agua de Nuevo León: Apodaca, N.L, 222, 2012.

[8] Federal Official Gazette (DOF), Acuerdo por el que se instruyen acciones para mitigar los efectos de la sequía que atraviesan diversas entidades federativas, available at www. dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle.php?codigo=5231010&fecha=25/01/2012

[9] Federal Official Gazette (DOF), Lineamientos que establecen los criterios y mecanismos para emitir acuerdos de carácter general en situaciones de emergencia por la ocurrencia de sequía, así como las medidas preventivas y de mitigación, que podrán implementar los usuarios de las aguas nacionales para lograr un uso eficiente del agua durante sequía, available at www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle_popup.php?codigo=5278695

[10] Federal Official Gazette (DOF), Acuerdo por el que se crea la Comisión Intersecretarial para la Atención de Sequías e Inundaciones, available at www.dof.gob.mx/nota_detalle. php?codigo=5294627&fecha=05/04/2013

[11] National Water Commission (CONAGUA), Programa Nacional Contra la Sequía, avalaible at www.pronacose.gob.mx

[12] Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA), Guía para la Formulación de Programas de Prevención y Mitigación de Sequía, IMTA’s Coordination of Hydrology: Jiutepec, Morelos, 56, 2013.

[13] National Water Commission (CONAGUA), Programa de Medidas Preventivas y de Mitigación de la Sequía. Consejo de Cuenca del Río Balsas, SEMARNAT: México, D.F., 246, 2013.