As reservoir levels continue to fall, Sonoran capital feels water pinch

By Murphy Woodhouse
Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 4:57pm

Hermosillo, the capital of neighboring Sonora, is facing water challenges as reservoir levels continue to drop.

Last June, the interim Hermosillo mayor announced that without significant rainfall, it would soon become impossible to pump water from the El Novillo reservoir, one of the city’s most important water sources. Recent data show that the reservoir’s levels are now about where they were this time last year, and the city water utility has already had to take action to ensure continued supply. There’s also the prospect of a below average monsoon season.

“I am not sure if it will rain during the summer, but if it doesn’t we will face real trouble,” said América Lutz, a researcher at the Colegio de Sonora who studies water security in northwestern Mexico. “I don't think we could make it to the end of the summer.”

Climate change is certainly playing a role in the city’s water woes, according to Lutz, but so too are long-standing poor water management practices, like the lack of reliable water metering and long-term planning that contemplates climate change and variability, as well as insufficient efforts to promote conservation.

“You need to address water demand, not only water supply,” she said.

Fronteras Sonora Water