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Water allocation dilemma between two economic heartlands: the case study of Los Altos-Leon-Guadalajara interbasin water transfer

  • 4 September, 2015
  • IHE Delft, Land & Water Management
  • Prof. dr. ir. P. van der Zaag
  • Dr. N. (Nora) van Cauwenbergh

Water insecurity can be intensified or even created by unsustainable and unequal decisions. The hydrocrats, in their quest to make productive every drop of water in a basin, what is known as the hydraulic mission, have over-developed and closed the basin of Medio-Lerma, host of one of the largest industrial cities of Mexico: Leon, in the State of Guanajuato, in Mexico. Several conflicts over the past decades between the irrigators and other water users in the basin of Lerma-Chapala put pressure to strike an agreement between the neighbor State of Jalisco and Guanajuato to supply more water in the basin, via an inter-basin water transfer from the Rio Verde Grande basin, which is mainly semi-arid, rural region that represents the second biggest producer of animal protein in the country. Twenty years after the agreement, the Rio Verde Grande basin has closed as well, but the agreement to transfer water is still on and in due process. The design of the inter-basin water transfer has not been changed despite the obvious impacts that will bring about to the economy and the society of all the municipalities within the Rio Verde Grande basin in the State of Jalisco. The project was made without the interests of the population of the donor’s basin and other considerations from an Integrated Water Resources Management, which questions the very foundation of the project and the interests and science behind it. The dire consequences of the project will only seem to aggravate with the added impact of climate change. Which institutional agreements must change in order to avoid conflict and pursue a win-win scenario?

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Jonatan Godinez Madrigal

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