ENVIRONMENT - Key
Perhaps the most critical environmental problem facing the state
is the depletion of its aquifers. Simply put, the aquifers have
been over-exploited; the sparse and random rainfall inherent in
an arid climate cannot keep pace with the region’s water usage.
In addition, the depleted wells often result in saline
intrusion, which occurs when the water level in those wells
falls below sea level.
Fully 60% of the state’s surface area has either limited or
no possibility whatsoever of using surface or groundwater
resources. Only 35% of the state’s surface area has usable
groundwater resources; however, the aquifers in those areas are
in serious danger of depletion. It is worth noting that the
state has a mere 4% of its territory where water might be
extracted. In addition, what little water that does exist has
not been actively investigated in terms of its quality.
addition, there is evidence that fecal and arsenic contamination
is occurring in groundwater wells, mainly in small, rural
communities in Baja California Sur. Arsenic, when consumed over
a period of 5-10 years can cause cancer and diabetes. During
2004, ”Engineers for a Better World” at the University of
California-Berkeley conducted tests in 24 communities, finding
that 34% were contaminated above the federal drinking water
This study was expanded to include 500 groundwater wells
throughout the state in 2005; to date, 34 communities have
arsenic-contaminated groundwater. Floride and saline
contamination are also significant in terms of negative human
Clearly, it is crucial that the water quality and water supply
crisis be addressed.
Finally, there is statewide concern about the high level of
wasted water in the densely-populated urban areas, as well as in
the large hotel zones. In the former, water needs exceed water
supply by 20% or more in Comondú and Los Cabos.
Aging infrastructure, poor distribution networks, and
irresponsible water use are the main culprits behind wasted
In the hotel zones, which are much newer, proliferation of golf
courses and swimming pools in hotel developments (and those
under construction) is a prerequisite, despite limited water
supplies. It is particularly noteworthy that in Los Cabos,
water distribution tends to favor tourist resorts, while supply
is not enough to meet the local population’s demand. According
to the Municipality of Los Cabos, the city’s water deficit is
close to 30% - the highest in the state.
Accordingly, absent the construction of new desalinization
facilities and/or the adoption of proactive water conservation,
Los Cabos will be unable to sustain its current rates of urban
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
 Flores, Emigdio Z. “Geosudcalifornia:
geografía, agua y cyclones, UABCS 1998, pp. 3-4.
Paul. Personal communication, January 3, 2006.
 Gob. Del
Estado de BCS, PEOT, Op.
Cit., p. 11.
H. Ayuntamiento de Comondú.
Plan Municipal de
p. 8-12. / H. VIII Ayuntamiento de Los Cabos., Plan
Municipal de Desarrollo 2002-2005, pp. 60-61.
Meetings held at: Cabo San Lucas, Loreto, Guerrero
Negro, Santa Rosalía./
Promomedios California. Host: Miguel Ángel Ojeda,
April 15, 2004, interview with Ing. Lorenzo Arriñaga,
Manager of CNA-BCS.
 H. VIII Ayuntamiento de Los
Cabos., Plan Municipal…, Op. Cit. pp. 60-61.