As northern Mexico this year endured one of its worst droughts in decades, brewers dotting the parched landscape guzzled vast quantities of water, pumping out national favorites like Corona and Tecate that helped make the country the world’s largest exporter of beer.
At the imposing brick Heineken plant in the city of Monterrey, the pipes never stopped flowing, even as fights broke out at lines for government water trucks and as parasites spread among children who missed regular baths.
The water in Blanca Guzmán’s neighborhood had been out for days when she decided to protest, joining a group of activists in July to block the entrance to Heineken’s office.
“You’d open the tap and there wouldn’t be a drop of water,” she said. The brewing factories, though, “they produced and produced and produced.”
As droughts become more frequent and severe around the world, brewers and other heavy industrial water users have landed at the center of the climate fight in Mexico, with activists leading a movement to reclaim resources from corporations that has gained recognition at the highest levels of government.
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