Surrounded by majestic mountains, 200 km from the United States, Monterrey, five million inhabitants with its agglomeration, has developed with a touch of arrogance by turning its back on the poverty that affects the states of southern Mexico ( Oaxaca, Chiapas).

The drought upsets the deal: it hasn’t rained, or little, for fifteen months. Two of the three dams and water reservoirs that supply the country’s second city are dry. The authorities decided in early June to ration running water to a few hours a day.

“It makes me desperate,” says Maria Celia, in her small, poorly ventilated apartment where the temperature is close to 40 degrees early in the morning.

The septuagenarian lives in the town of Garcia, where the inhabitants have never experienced such a situation. On the hills, stronghold of the outlying districts, the most disadvantaged have not seen a drop of water for 50 days.

Few houses have a cistern or a tank to store water, as is the case in districts of the Mexico City capital to cope with water cuts, especially in the popular “colony” of Iztapalapa.

“Until then, we didn’t need it”, summarizes Javier Torres, a municipal agent who supervises the distribution of water in disadvantaged neighborhoods, set up by the authorities.

Entire families, including children, run out towards the tanker trucks, empty cans in hand.

At the end of June, two dams were operating at less than 10% of their capacity (1% for one of the two), and the third at 44%, according to the National Water Information System.

At the Boca dam, the most affected by the drought, the water reservoir is completely empty, as are the terraces of dozens of restaurants on the edge of the old body of water.

On the walls of the shops, the photos show tourist facilities from another era already: beaches, with water and waves, and boats afloat.

The current reality is quite different: remains of shells, and boats stranded in the mud.

“We were barely breathing after the pandemic. It didn’t last long, the drought started,” laments Adrian Luna, a 26-year-old server.

The young man fears that the time of boat trips on the water reservoir is only a distant memory.

-Bomb the clouds-

In addition to the drought, Monterrey is experiencing infrastructure problems: “An aqueduct has cracked,” explained Governor Samuel Garcia, 34, whose disheveled communication has drawn much criticism.

Among the solutions, the young governor defends the bombardment of clouds with chemicals – silver iodide particles – to accelerate condensation and therefore rain.

“I am not Tlaloc (Aztec god of rain)”, he launched, a sentence that has gone viral. But causing the rain for a few hours could solve the problem “at least a few weeks”, he assures in a video, at the end of June.

“I don’t want to be triumphalist. What seemed impossible – to bombard the clouds to cause rain – we are doing it. We are in crisis”, he said about this technique called “the cloud seeding.

The local industry – brewery, steel mills, cement factories… – was called upon.

Last week, industrialists and farmers pledged to provide 37% of the city’s water needs, after negotiations with the federal authorities.

“Companies have stopped activities on certain days of the week, precisely to save water,” says the town hall manager, Javier Torres. “There are companies that sent us water to supply certain neighborhoods.”

This Sunday, the weather report still announces a great sun on Monterrey with temperatures of 38 degrees, without any precipitation. Possible showers are forecast for Wednesday evening. The followers of Tlaloc the god of rain just have to cross their fingers.