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Mexico water shortage becomes crisis amid drought
In the parched Mexican countryside, the corn is wilting, the wheat stunted. And here in this vast and thirsty capital, officials are rationing water and threatening worse cuts as Mexico endures one of the driest spells in more than half a century.
A months-long drought has affected broad swaths of the country, from the U.S. border to the Yucatan Peninsula, leaving crop fields parched and many reservoirs low. The need for rain is so dire that water officials have been rooting openly for a hurricane or two to provide a good drenching.
Mexican growers report more than $1 billion in losses from crops planted during spring, in anticipation of seasonal rain. Hard hit have been corn, beans, barley and sorghum, plus livestock. Farmers and officials say the impact, including lost earnings, unpaid debts and shortages of staple foods, could be felt well into next year.
"Although no one wants to recognize it, there is a food crisis," said Cruz Lopez Aguilar, president of a national federation representing rural dwellers. He and others say increasing imports to make up for lost crops could raise food costs.
Persistent drought causes rationing
...2009 is the driest year in 69 years of record-keeping...