According to Mayor Leoncio Martinez Sanchez of the municipality of Zaragoza, Mexico, the residents of his town have no water because it's being utilized to make beer to send to the United States.
Martinez told The Guardian that the water shortage is so extreme that "there’s barely a drop of water when you open the tap." In a letter that merely said, "WE HAVE NO WATER FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION," Martinez pleaded his case to Coahuila state governor Ruben Moreira.
Constellation Brands, the brewery that produces Corona and Modelo beer, extracts 1,200 liters of water per second from local wells. The plant reportedly plans to increase production, which would “aggravate” the problem, according to Martinez.
"We’re worried because we’re already being impacted by this extraction of 1,200 [liters] of water per second [by the brewery]," Martinez explained. "It’s contradictory that while Constellation Brands has industrial amounts of water to make beer, the municipality of Zaragoza doesn’t have 100 [liters per second] of water to give people to drink or use in their homes."
However, a spokesperson from Constellation Brands fervently disagrees with the accusations and defends the sustainability practices established by the brewery. According to Eater, the spokesperson issued a statement, saying:
Constellation Brands is committed to operating our facilities in a sustainable way in Coahuila (Mexico) and other markets around the world … In 2015, we commissioned an independent study to better understand the environmental impact of our local operations. The study showed that our operations in Coahuila account for less than 1% of the total water extracted from the Allende-Piedras Negras Aquifer. … Our facility in Nava has one of the best water efficiency rates in the industry, and our wastewater treatment system enables us to reuse about 26% of incoming water. Each of our 2,000 local employees is committed to continuing to do our part to ensure that Constellation remains a good steward of our environment.
According to Raul Pacheco-Vega, public administration professor at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics, water crises are a common occurrence in that region of Mexico.
"Northern Mexico is extraordinarily dry and it has extreme climatic conditions," he explained, according to The Guardian. "It doesn’t have a lot of rain, therefore, there is a lot of water scarcity. Even though Mexico has a constitutional mandate to have water for everyone, we’re still privatizing it, we’re still giving concessions to private entities on the premise of bringing jobs."