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Aquifer committees and groundwater over-exploitation Case Study: The State of Guanajuato Mexico.

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Presentation on theme: "Aquifer committees and groundwater over-exploitation Case Study: The State of Guanajuato Mexico."— Presentation transcript:

1 Aquifer committees and groundwater over-exploitation Case Study: The State of Guanajuato Mexico

2 The state of Guanajuato Area: 30,768 km 2 of which 83% belong to the Lerma Chapala Basin (44% of the area of the basin). Population: 4.7 million 3.1% GNP of the country 480,107 irrigated ha (60% of it with groundwater) Severe groundwater exploitation problems

3 Groundwater exploitation in the Lerma Chapala Basin Red areas are overexploited Darker blue in balance Light blue under used Note the state of Guanajuato (Most red areas)

4 How is the water used? Agriculture (%) Industry (%) Public (urban & rural) (%) Surface water Groundwater Global water use

5 Intense groundwater use All aquifers are being mined and water extractions are still increasing (4000 MCM/year with a deficit of 1250 MCM/year) High productivity and forward-linked export agriculture. Growing urban and industrial water needs 2,778 RECHARGE 4,027 TOTAL ABSTRACTION Groundwater -1,249 Deficit

6 Intense water use Number of wells is still increasing year Deep wells

7 Consequences of overexploitation Average aquifer decline of 2.03 m/year (with extremes of 5 m/year) Increasing pumping costs Decline in groundwater quality Subsidence (up to 3 cm/year) Subsidence

8 What has been done before to regulate groundwater? Historical responses to regulate groundwater –Vedas bans on new wells –1956 (Groundwater users are required to get permits/concessions) –Since the new water law (1992) regularization of groundwater concessions (REPDA)

9 What has been done before to regulate groundwater? Current programs to register wells with an annual volumetric concession. BUT Ineffective in controlling groundwater exploitation

10 What is being done aquifer management programs raise agricultural productivity import water efficiently satisfy growing public needs preserve sources and ecosystems rescue water volumes reclaim wastewater reform financial structures improve and sustain human capacities promote good- practices-enabling social values implement adequate technology improve institutional settings implement water exchange schemes

11 What are COTAS MSPs (Multi Stakeholder Platforms) at aquifer level aimed at organizing users in aquifer management councils to reach agreement on reductions in extractions

12 What are COTAS All water users of an aquifer can become a member of COTAS, multi-sectoral ( ) 14 COTAS + 1 coordinating institution CEH (Consejo Estatal Hidraulico) Guanajuato

13 Structure of the COTAS Technical Group TECHNICAL EXPERTISE Consultative Group GOVERNMENTAL SUPPORT Technical Committee - Guanajuato States Trust for Social Participation in Water Management (FIPASMA) General Assembly Directive Board Manager Administrative Suppport COTAS Water Technical Council SOCIETY (Organized Water Users) Technical support

14 Outputs of COTAS 1.Technical support to users 2.Studies and mathematical models of all aquifers 3.Institutional development 4.Communication of a water culture 5.User-oriented services

15 Challenges and opportunities Challenges –Low participation (2-3% of total users) –Lack of legal faculties (no enforcement faculties)= works on the good will of users –Has had little effect on groundwater extraction levels

16 Challenges and opportunities Opportunities –Strong state government support (CEAG) –Increasing awareness of users –15 formed and functioning institutions

17 Lessons learned Participation is difficult when users dont see direct benefits. Is 1000 or more users for one COTAS too much? The lack of legal power to enforce control and measures is an important constraint. COTAS could play a role in titling, eg, through responsibility and supervision of group concessions. User awareness is slowly increasing; this creates a base for action.

18 Water use in agriculture Rationale: higher irrigation efficiency will reduce groundwater use Programs –Modernization of groundwater irrigation systems –Plot leveling Irrigation systemApplication Efficiency (%) Earthen Channels40% Low Pressure Systems60-65% Sprinkler Irrigation75-80% Drip Irrigation85-90%

19 Farmer applies for subsidies for improving his irrigation technology (requirements) - Legal groundwater use permit - Contribution of the farmer (10%-50% of total costs) - With the new project flow meters are installed on pumps How does it work

20 State Secretary of Agriculture (SDA) reviews the application The project gets approved and installed Farmers are responsible for the proper installation of technology, if it is not well installed the state does not pay. Subsides get liberated (paid by the federal and state governments when to work is approved and completed) How does it work

21 Results of the programs Total investment 1,2 million dollar Benefited users 35,500 Hectares 173,000 ha Effects –More efficient groundwater use –Higher agricultural outputs –No significant groundwater use reductions

22 Lessons Increasing irrigation efficiency raises agricultural production but does not necessarily decrease groundwater exploitation Raising irrigation efficiency to reduce groundwater use is only effective if there is strict control over pumped groundwater volumes

23 Energy pricing Concessioned wells receive energy subsidy up to concessioned volume - enforcement difficult. All power connections for wells require proof of concession title. Energy tariff fixed at Mex$ 0.30 (US$ ) per kWh up to annual energy consumption limit based on concessioned volume.

24 Energy pricing Supply manipulation options unfeasible: –restrictions on new connections –caps on capacity or amperage, and –reductions in hours of power supply Pricing options...

25 Conclusions Groundwater management is a key challenge that requires regulatory and participatory approaches coupled with changes in demand behavior of pumpers. Institutions have to work together with each other and with the users to reach agreements on how to reduce groundwater use.

26 Conclusions The enabling legal and human resources to impose strict control are not always available so other options have to be devised. The options are many… but which one(s) will work? Can different strategies be combined to fit the specific needs established by a specific context?

27 Acknowledgement This case study is based on: Jaime D. Hoogesteger van Dijk The Underground; Understanding the failure of intitutional responses to reduce groundwater exploitation in Guanajuato (Wageningen University, The Netherlands) Pictures made available by Jaime Hoogesteger van Dijk. With special thanks to: the CEAG ( and SDA for making the information available.

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