A system dynamics model to evaluate temporary water transfers in the Mexican Conchos Basin

Jesús R. Gastélum, Juan B. Valdés, Steven Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The flows of the Rio Conchos are of vital economic importance not only to the agricultural sector in the Mexican side of the Rio Grande basin but also for meeting Mexico's obligation to deliver water to the United States. During the previous decade, a severe drought dramatically decreased the basin's runoff, generating serious economic, social, and political problems in both countries. A System Dynamics (SD) model designed to serve as a decision-support system (DSS) for water managers has been created. This DSS is a lumped semi-distributed model operating on a monthly basis. This DSS incorporates the most important elements of the Conchos basin's water resources system: main rivers, irrigation distribution canals, reservoirs, aquifer, and the three Irrigation Districts. The DSS simulates different short and long term scenarios combining inside and outside Irrigation Districts (IDs). Also, different short scenarios are implemented to investigate the benefits of water transfer from México to the United States. This study has prompted awareness with regards to the degree of complexity and uncertainty of the water right allocation process to different economic variables such as crop yield, production costs, crop prices, subsidies, and water distribution efficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1285-1311
Number of pages27
JournalWater Resources Management
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2010


  • Decision support system
  • Irrigation
  • Simulation
  • System dynamics
  • Temporary water rights transfers
  • Uncertainty analysis
  • Water allocation
  • Water markets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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