The dilemma of water management 'regionalization' in Mexico under centralized resource allocation

Christopher A. Scott, Jeff M. Banister

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Mexico's evolving water management framework is predicated on: (1) integration of water resources planning and management; (2) decentralization from federal to 'regional' (river basin) levels; and (3) privatization of service provision. This paper focuses on Mexico's recurring federal-regional tensions, highlighting the historical case of the Yaqui River, and analyzing the current decentralization impasse. Although important advances have been made with irrigation management transfer, river basin councils, nascent user participation in groundwater management, and water and energy legislation, integrated water resources management (IWRM) remains an elusive goal, principally due to inherent institutional and procedural contradictions in water resource allocation. The next steps in the Mexican model - to open decision making to public scrutiny and devolve allocation of water and financial resources - will prove the most difficult, more because of entrenched interests than for lack of an 'IWRM roadmap'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-74
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Water Resources Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Water Science and Technology


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