Sanchez Flores, Maria Del Rosario (2009-08). Planning for Water Scarcity: The Vulnerability of the Laguna Region, Mexico. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This dissertation examined declining groundwater availability and management

    strategies for addressing water shortages in the Laguna region located in the states of

    Coahuila and Durango. Excessive pumping of groundwater in the Laguna region has

    resulted in a dramatic decline in the water level of the aquifer and in the region's water

    supply. Since agriculture has been highly dependent on groundwater, this may lead

    dramatic changes in the agricultural sector of the regional economy. This research was

    an exploratory investigation of water users' beliefs and of options regarding water

    scarcity that could help design a stakeholder framework for planning the region's water

    resources. To address this problem, a combination of quantitative and qualitative

    techniques were used. A systems theory simulation model was used to measure the

    economic vulnerability of the main agricultural products at different scenarios of water

    volume in the aquifer. Grounded theory methodology was used to address water users'

    beliefs concerning water conditions and planning strategies. Preference and feasibility

    analysis was used to identify the most preferable planning strategies among water

    stakeholders. Statistical analyses were used to support the results of the quantitative


    The results of the simulation model showed a significant impact on economic

    production given different scenarios of water volume and of higher probabilities of

    droughts. From the qualitative assessment four main findings were identified: lack of localized data, cognitive communication dissonance, disagreement on problem

    identification and disagreement on possible solutions. From the preference and

    feasibility analysis, the most favored strategies were: more comprehensive research,

    conservation campaigns, education and investment for water efficiency techniques. The

    lowest values were gained by privatization, new drillings, decentralization, construction

    of new dams, and the continuation of the actual pumping condition. Results showed

    there was no preference for dramatic changes in the actual model of water use. The

    vulnerability of the region was not shown to be equal among users; it was higher for

    communal users and cities, and lesser for private farmers and industries. The potential

    for sustainability was not high enough to expect a significant change in the near future in

    the water planning process.

publication date

  • August 2009