The presence of contaminants in Mexico's water increased the rate of hospitalization linked to diarrhea by 7 to 12 percent. This, in turn, is associated with increased spending on health (a 22 percent increase), especially among households in 30 percent of the population with lower incomes, the World Bank reported.

"The world faces an invisible water quality crisis that decreases by one-third the potential for economic growth in highly polluted areas and endangers human and environmental well-being," he explained in the report Quality Unknown: The Invisible Water Crisis.

According to World Bank studies, Mexico is a country in the Americas where most of the territory has a high risk in the quality of its water, with the exception of the Baja California Peninsula. The risk of contaminants in the water is only comparable to countries in Europe and the regions near the east of China.

The analysis consisted of measuring in each country how a combination of bacteria, wastewater, chemicals, and plastic can absorb oxygen from water sources and transform them into "poison for people and ecosystems. In Mexico, pollutants are above the six milligrams per liter prescribed by the National Water Commission.

When the biological demand for oxygen - a measure that shows the organic contamination recorded in the water and an indirect indicator of its general quality - exceeds a certain threshold, the growth of the gross domestic product of the regions located in the lower part of the basins experiences falls of up to a third due to effects on health, agriculture, and ecosystems, the report says.

"Clean water is a key factor for economic growth. Deteriorating water quality slows that growth, worsens health conditions, reduces food production, and exacerbates poverty in many countries," said David Malpass, president of the World Bank. "Governments must take urgent action to help solve the problem of water pollution so that countries can grow faster in an equitable and environmentally sustainable manner.

The report also notes that agricultural yields fall as water and soil salinity increase as a result of more intense droughts, cyclone surges, and increased water withdrawals. Due to the salinity of the waters, the world loses enough food for 170 million people each year. In Mexico, this problem places it in 15th place, per year a little more than 3 billion calories are lost to feed the population.