McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Severe drought and water shortages are crippling water supplies in the northern Mexican border states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, where thousands of asylum-seekers are living as they try to enter the United States, while residents north of the border are trying to help, Border Report has learned.
The city of McAllen and the McAllen Chamber of Commerce are collecting bottled-water donations for Nuevo León through Wednesday. An entire 18-wheeler has already been filled with water donations and officials now are loading a second truck, Juan Olaguibel, superintendent of bridges for the city of McAllen, told Border Report on Tuesday.
“We’re talking about many many pallets of water,” Olaguibel said.
“Right now the crisis is in Nuevo León and so that’s where we thought our efforts should be focused and to just help out. There’s an unprecedented water crisis and we’re happy to help,” Olaguibel said. “We just want to help our friends and family in Nuevo León. Many of us have family and friends and business associates who call those cities home and we’re just happy to support and raise as much water as we can to help our neighbors.”
The water supplies will be delivered to the governor’s office for the Mexican state, which is southwest of Laredo, Texas, Olaguibel said.
“Bottled water will help aid Nuevo León as they experience a water crisis,” the city tweeted Tuesday.
And migrant advocacy groups working in Tamaulipas and in the city of Reynosa say water there also is extremely scarce and are urging attention be brought to help the thousands of migrants amassing in that border town, as well as the locals who are being forced to ration.
“It’s been a constant game of catch up to provide enough water to the current thousands of asylum seekers stuck in Reynosa. As soon as we get enough funding to fill one water tank, we need two. And now, with the imminent arrival of thousands more, our current funding and capacity won’t be able to meet the need. I see how these refugees have to ration when they can have a simple sip of water during 100-degree temperatures and in the blazing sun, and my heart breaks for them. I wish we could do more,” Erin Hughes, principal engineer for Solidarity Engineering said in a statement Tuesday.
Hughes said the state of Tamaulipas expects thousands of asylum-seekers to arrive over the next six weeks.
She said there isn’t enough water at the area’s migrant shelters to meet current demand, and she fears they will be overwhelmed and run out of water entirely if the caravan arrives. And she says there isn’t space to hold them all, either.
“Capacity has been a huge problem,” she said.
Mexican officials in Nuevo León report that half of the water companies in the region have asked the state’s government to intervene to help with water scarcity.
The Cierro Prieto and La Boca water dams, located southwest of the city of Nuevo León , are at 4 and 11% capacity, and diminished supplies mean water is literally trickling down area residents, Mexico Business News reports. Water currently is pumping at 68% or 7,760 liters per second, rather than 11,280 liters per second during normal conditions, the report says.
That has left upwards of 1.5 million people on the state without water.
The government of Nuevo León has announced that half the population in metropolitan areas will have their water supplies cut from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., through August unless massive supplies of water are received.
In Reynosa, Hughes says they anticipate they will need an additional 120,000 liters, or 26,500 gallons of supplemental water per month to meet demand.
That’s an increase of roughly $15,000 more in water supplies per month.
Currently, they use 170,000 liters or 100,000 gallons of water per month.
“This is no small feat and will require substantial investment, which the (non-governmental organization) does not currently have. To combat this, Solidarity Engineering is calling for support from government, large corporations and individual donors,” the group said in a statement.
Donation information can be found at the organization’s website: solidarityengineering.org/donate.