Celso Castro S., Arturo González C. and Alejandro González B.

 

Water being a nationally important and strategic resource in Mexico, the National Water Commission (Comisión Nacionaldel Agua, CONAGUA) promotes and encourages the water user organizations to establish regulatory mechanisms to resolve water-related problems faced by agricultural, urban and industrial water users. Agriculture is the largest water consumer (77%), followed by constantly growing urban areas with 15% and the industry with 8% which increasingly requires more water. Mexico has 6.4 million hectares (Mha) under irrigation, of which 3 Mha are classified as irrigation units, using mainly groundwater from aquifers for irrigation. Climate change and its impact on the variability and intensity of rainfall cause significant changes in the availability of water in aquifers; more than 100 aquifers are overexploited, mainly due to excessive withdrawals exceeding the recharge. CONAGUA envisages to embark upon a federal program through civil associations (CA) by forming Limited Liability Company (LLC) and Groundwater Technical Committee (Comite Técnico de Aguas Subterraneas, COTAS) for sustainable management of the aquifer. Optimization of water resources, leads to the use of “Sustainable Water Volume” defined as the annual average volume available in each aquifer (quality and quantity) according to the annual average recharge. This is considered as the maximum extractable groundwater from an aquifer and it has to be used equitable by the users of the aquifer water. To regulate, supervise and monitor the aquifer withdrawals, there has to be written agreement (called Concession Agreement) between the CONAGUA and the water users on the volume of water that the users can withdraw from the aquifer. To make this effective, monitoring of the aquifer water withdrawal through actual measurement is essential. CONAGUA places special emphasis on making the water users sensitive to the need to conserve water and penalize those who violate the set norms of groundwater extraction by overexploitation.

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