Tehuacán Video Essay: Scarcity and Solutions

Video by Brian Robertshaw for Circle of Blue

The Tehuacán Valley captures the tragedy and triumph of Mexico’s worst freshwater crisis in decades.

Forces of man and nature have turned this valley’s freshwater supply, once renowned throughout Mexico, into an ancient memory. Industrial and agricultural pollution have rendered many waterways dangerous, and some deadly. Rainfall is scarce, leaving soils parched and aquifers dangerously empty.

Four years ago Circle of Blue assigned Newsweek’s Latin America bureau chief Joe Contreras and World-Press winning Photojournalist Brent Stirton of Getty Images to tell Tehuacán’s story. Now we turn our attention back to the region to find out what’s happened since — particularly after the worst drought in 68 years struck Mexico last summer.

As Tehuacán confronts its water crisis, a Mexico-based non-profit called Alternativas helps communities find solutions that combine modern technology with ancestral wisdom. It’s a new paradigm for water management that offers part of the solution for Mexico’s water future.

Divining Destiny in the Tehuacán Valley

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