Volume 10, Issue 3

September 1994

Special Issue:  Water Resources Development in Mexico




Fernando González-Villarreala and Héctor Garduñob

aDirector General; bDeputy Director General of Water Management, National Water Commission, México

Abstract: In spite of efforts made so far, water resources development has not benefited all Mexicans. Water conflicts between neighbouring states and regions become more frequent every day. These, together with low infrastructure maintenance, low water-use efficiencies, water quality degradation and severe flood control problems, are the pressing problems which demand new approaches to water management. In order to make progress in the solution of these problems, the Mexican government established a new water policy to enable sustainable development of water. Its implementation required major changes in the legal and institutional framework. Besides constructing the necessary water infrastructure, the Mexican government has given special emphasis to water planning and management in recent years, by creating favourable economic and legal conditions to induce a change that makes possible more productive water allocation from the economic point of view, as well as more efficient water use and a significant reduction in water contamination levels. The new approach to water management relies on a well-tuned balance between government regulation and market forces. This paper deals with the main strategies, instruments and actions under implementation for water resources planning and management in Mexico and concludes that, to make progress towards the total solution of the water quantity and quality problems of Mexico, a new water culture is required to help build a clear consciousness of the value of water as a scarce, finite and, above all, vital resource. This new outlook requires that each member of society contribute to a better, more efficient use of water and the preservation of its quality.


Alvaro A. Aldamaa, Alfonso Olaizb and Alberto Guitrónc

aExecutive Director of the Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA–Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología del Agua); bAdvisors Coordinator, IMTA; cPrivate Consultant

Abstract: A substantial technological effort is required to make progress towards solving Mexico’s water problems. Adequate technology must be available to meet society’s demands to avoid wasting water and degrading its quality in rural and urban areas, in both large-scale water systems and individual use. The Mexican Institute of Water Technology (IMTA) was designed to work on these objectives and coordinate work being done at universities, research centres and other institutions in both Mexico and abroad. IMTA’s efforts focus on updating available technology to solve traditional problems in the water sector as well as relatively new technical aspects such as water conservation and protection. IMTA copes with these problems through multi- and interdisciplinary approaches, exploiting the diverse educational backgrounds of its professionals. In most cases the available technology must be adapted, improved on and transferred, while in some cases technology must be developed. IMTA has successfully developed a method of technological transfer keeping in mind process sustainability and, from the beginning of project development, identifying key ‘change agents’- generally technical personnel from federal or state water authorities, water utilities, irrigators’ associations and water users-and having them participate in the development. This participation scheme has proved its effectiveness in IMTA’s technology transfer processes, reducing transfer times substantially. Human resource development is a key factor in implementing water sector policies and strategies. IMTA plays a major role in this respect, training users, technicians and professionals to reinforce and, thereby, enhance the effectiveness of Mexican institutions in development and preservation of this invaluable resource. This paper presents IMTA’s policy, strategies, methodology, technology transfer experience, some case studies and perspectives.


Eduardo Mestrea, Luis F. Leonb and Polioptro Martinez-Austriab

aGerencia Regional Lerma-Balsas (Lerma-Balsas Regional Administration), Comision Nacional del Agua, Querétaro, Mexico; bInstituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua (Mexican Institute of Water Technology), Jiutepec, México

Abstract: Water management has become an important issue in the last decade, not only in relation to water quantity but also in respect to its quality. It is obvious that water quality plays a major role in the availability of water for almost every use. The inclusion of water quality issues in the management of the resource induces an integral and multidisciplinary approach that involves the participation of officials, scientists and the general public. This article focuses on one of the most important basins in México, the Lerma-Chapala, and provides a description of the diagnosis of the water quality in the system, the measures used in the basin administration, communication, and technological development and application.


Eric Gutiérrez, Felipe Arreguín, Rubén Huerto and Pilar Saldaña, Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología del Agua, Coordinación de Tecnología Hidráulica Urbano Industrial, Morelos, México

Abstract: A general discussion is provided of the waterhyacinth, which may become weed as a result of its uncontrolled reproduction, and of the five main control methods. The Mexican Aquatic Weed Control Program (PROCMA) is described, including its goals and guidelines. Information is given concerning COD, DO, pesticide residues, pH, conductivity and total phosphorus resulting from the use of 2,4-D, diquat and glyphosate in three dams infested with water hyacinth and cat-tail.


Michel Rosengausa, Jaime Colladob and Enrique Ortegac

aResearch Scientist, Hydraulics Department; bHead, Hydrology and Water Resources Department, Mexican Institute of Water Technology, Morelos, México; cDirector, National Meteorological Service, National Water Commission, México

Abstract: The modernization of the [Mexican] National Meteorological Service (SMN) is based on four principal areas: data gathering, processing, dissemination and storage. This paper describes in general the rationale behind such a modernization, and presents in detail the procedures followed for improving weather monitoring through climatological stations and meteorological radars. In this field, the main activities have been the optimal design of a network of automatic and telemetric climatological stations, and the location of new meteorological radar stations. The climatological network was designed through Kriging, a geostatistical approach that minimizes the variance of the estimation error; in this case, of rainfall that occurred in the historically most severe storms. The location of radar stations followed a heuristic procedure in such a manner that the greatest area can be covered. Both data measuring systems, together with rawindsondes and satellite images, are the core of the modernization and constitute the initiation of a new epoch in the National Meteorological Service.


Severo de la Cruza and Efren Peñab

aComisión National del Agua, México; bResearch Scientist, Instituto Mexicano de Tecnología del Agua, Morelos, México

Abstract: This paper describes the methodology used to obtain and analyse information concerning the operating conditions of wells, pumping equipment and irrigation systems to develop a sustainable groundwater management programme. A case study is provided to exemplify how the method was applied to attain a balance between the abstraction of groundwater for irrigation and the natural recharge of the aquifer.


Polioptro Martínez, Martín Mundo and Mauricio Carrillo, CIVAC, Morelos, México

Abstract: Efficient water use and aquifer conservation require accurate measurement of the water used in both gravity and pressurized irrigation systems. Volumetric irrigation delivery is very important for any conservation policy. A large number of measurement devices must be placed in both open channels and closed conduits in the irrigation system to achieve this goal, and in México it must be done quickly because of the new water law. The Mexican Institute of Water Technology created a program to develop measuring devices but in addition a broad and effective programme of technology transfer was needed, including the development of specialized software, and also training courses and workshops. This paper presents the volumetric channel and well (closed conduit) flowmeters and the main components of the technology transfer programme thanks to which these devices, in the short period of two years, entered into general use in México.


Maria Luisa Torregrosa, Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua, CIVAC, Morelos, México

Abstract: Within the framework of the modernization policies of the Mexican government, the transfer of irrigation districts to the users’ associations is of significant importance but different problems must be confronted in implementation of the process, the most important of which is the various perceptions of the social actors involved. This paper reviews the social and institutional framework in the context of the economic and productive transformation of the rural sector. It also analyses how the policies of modernization and the transfer of the irrigation districts have created lags or duplicated the roles and functions at different levels of the institutional structures of the CNA, as a government agency, and in the new organizational forms of the users’ associations. The second part characterizes the participation and the institutional commitment of the CNA in the process of transference. In the third section some recommendations are given concerning the representation of general interests and the need for an organized effort in the recovery of the different types of producers, to allow for the envisioning of technological assistance for the reproduction and development of each of the emerging organizational forms.

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