For business, water scarcity is where climate change hits home

One of your columnist’s favourite ways of passing a hot afternoon in Monterrey, three hours south of Mexico’s border with Texas, is with a cold bottle of locally brewed Bohemia beer alongside a plate of cabrito (roast kid). For a business writer, it is a justifiable use of the expense account. Beers like Bohemia helped make Monterrey the industrial hub that it is. The Cuauhtémoc brewery, now owned by Heineken, a global giant, was started in 1890 by members of the Garza and Sada families, who went on to become Mexico’s biggest industrialists. Lacking suppliers in the arid north, they made their own bottles, caps and packaging, giving rise to conglomerates that fuelled the country’s modernisation. Today Mexico is the largest exporter of beer in the world.

Monterrey is still awash with beer. But it is also stricken by drought. This has left millions of residents reliant on leaky public pipes desperately short of water, even as the industries that employ them guzzle the stuff,…

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