Published December 1, 2021 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Water-power: underground water management in Mexico, and its forgotten transboundary dimension, 1948-2018 (in Spanish)

  • 1. Mexican Institute of Water Technology(IMTA), Jiutepec, Morelos, Mexico
  • 2. |University of Texas, Austin, Texas, United States
  • 3. National Autonomous University of Mexico(UNAM), Mexico City, Mexico


In Mexico, there is no specific policy for the governance of transboundary groundwaters.

In fact, these groundwaters have been governed almost entirely from a national-domestic

perspective with disregard for transboundary groundwater flows. This article analyses

the links between water and political power in the management, administration and

allocation of groundwater rights; the State has developed different instruments to

politically control water, imposing a clientelistic policy approach to its distribution. From

1948 to 2018, more than 100 legal decrees on groundwater management were passed.

These decrees are marked by scientific limitations in relation to the management of

groundwater, but have allowed the State to control these waters, and to implement a

policy framework for the allocation of water rights. In this context, the article examines

the links between “aquifers”, and the practice of “free pumping” to analyse Mexico’s

groundwater rights policies. It concludes that the State enforces its control over the

allocation of groundwater rights e through a rhetorical discourse that has scant

consideration for the crucial challenge of ensuring groundwater preservation and has

never given specific consideration to transboundary groundwaters.


Vol8.No 4 Art3.pdf

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