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Drought: The water reality in Oaxaca

March 20, 2024 | Anna Bruce

When we first hear “Oaxaca”, many of us think of mezcal. A beautiful, clear spirit, rich with flavor. This richness comes from a diverse terroir that informs both the agave as it grows and the process of production. 

An essential element of this terroir is the water that nourishes it. On average it takes 10 liters of water to make one liter of mezcal. Almost 72.3 million liters of water were used to make the mezcal exported to the US in 2023.  Water is a resource that is becoming less reliable in Oaxaca, raising concerns for agave growers, mezcal producers and everyone else besides. 

Water security is described by the World Water Council as the “availability of water, in adequate quantity and quality, to sustain social and economic sectors without exceeding its ability to renew.” 

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