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University of Arizona (2021)

Managed Aquifer Recharge in Mexico : Opportunities to Increase Water Availability in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions and Science-Policy Interactions

Cruz Ayala, Mary Belle

Titre : Managed Aquifer Recharge in Mexico : Opportunities to Increase Water Availability in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions and Science-Policy Interactions

Auteur : Cruz Ayala, Mary Belle

Université de soutenance : University of Arizona

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2021

Résumé partiel
Worldwide, groundwater overdraft is one issue faced in urban and rural environments impacting water supply. Expansion of irrigated agriculture, changes in consumption habits, population growth, and urbanization are some causes of increased water consumption. In Mexico, 157 of 657 aquifers are overexploited, and 50 are affected by seawater intrusion in coastal areas. Considering that Mexico relies on groundwater, it is urgent to examine policies and programs to reduce groundwater extraction, create and enforce adequate quantity and quality standards, and develop a portfolio of alternatives to increase groundwater recharge. Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR), using reclaimed water and stormwater, is a tool that can be implemented to augment water recharge in overexploited aquifers. MAR helps to provide water supply for human activities, agriculture, environmental services and is a tool for adaptation to climate change in semi-arid regions of Mexico. In this research, I present an overview of water recharge projects that have been conducted in Mexico in the last 20 years, their methods for recharge, water sources, geographical distribution, and the main results obtained for each project. This research follows a three-article dissertation format. The main body of this dissertation focuses on Appendixes 1, 2, and 3. I conducted three field trips, phone interviews, and online surveys to gather the data used in this research. The information collected was organized and analyzed using qualitative and quantitative methods. Appendix 1. An overview of Managed Aquifer Recharge in Mexico and its legal framework focuses on describing the type of MAR projects that have been designed in the last 20 years, the method used for recharge, their primary outcomes, and limitations. In addition, the opportunities and barriers that operators of these MAR projects face were analyzed and discussed. The main finding of this section of the study identifies that, beyond the technical issues that MAR projects commonly address, the regulatory framework is a barrier to increasing MAR facilities because there are no provisions for recovering stored water and, indeed, a potentially counterproductive rights regime. I found several cases in rural communities and in medium-sized cities where small-scale projects for MAR have been built ; these facilities have been created to stabilize water levels, and local authorities managed them. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the role of small-scale projects in increasing water supply and how these installations can be incorporated into regional water portfolios. It is critical for water-stressed countries like Mexico to contemplate MAR as an option to maintain water availability. Appendix 2. Managed Aquifer Recharge in Mexico : Proposals for Improved Public Policies and Legal Framework, drawing on qualitative approaches, three managed aquifer recharge projects in Mexico were analyzed (e.g., achievements, limitations, and lessons learned). Three locations were selected to study MAR projects and conduct semi-structured interviews : San Luis Río Colorado city in Sonora ; Chihuahua city in Chihuahua ; and Iztapalapa township in Mexico City. MAR facilities have been operating for at least a decade in all three places. In this study, key management and financial-related proposals from state and municipal water managers and researchers that could be incorporated into the legal water framework are identified, presented, and discussed. The main conclusion of this study is that the Law of the Nation’s Water lacks precise rules for the storage of water and the recovery of recharged water, which makes future investments difficult. The need to create water recharge policies is also emphasized. Appendix 3. Identification and characterization of cross-sector collaborative relationships enabling water management and recharge projects in Mexico.

Mots clés : Arid-lands Groundwater LAN Managed Aquifer Recharge Mexico Science-policy


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