Multicriteria analysis in an irrigation district in Mexico

Raquel Salazar, Jeffry Stone, Diana Yakowitz, Donald Slack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The Alto Rio Lerma Irrigation District, located in the state of Guanajuato in Mexico, is an agricultural area whose sustainability depends partially upon groundwater withdrawal for crop irrigation. Because of high pumping demands and current land-management practices, groundwater levels have declined severely, resulting in aquifer overdraft. In order to analyze economic, environmental, and water use problems in this region, 12 potential cropping patterns were generated for different groundwater withdrawals using linear programming. Then, simulation of the agricultural system was performed using GLEAMS to estimate the amounts of water, nitrate, and pesticides in both runoff and percolation for each cropping pattern. Pumping costs and an aquifer exploitation coefficient account for the economic and environmental impacts of aquifer overdraft. Finally, the Range of Value Method (multicriteria method) was applied to rank and identify the best cropping pattern. The results show the best alternative for effectively balancing environmental with economic considerations was the farming practice, consisting of land leveling, growing vegetables such as red tomato, and controlled groundwater withdrawals to preserve aquifer sustainability. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-524
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Computer programming
  • Ground-water management
  • Irrigation districts
  • Mexico

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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