Federal Rivers
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Federal Rivers

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Edited by Dustin E. Garrick, George R.M. Anderson, Daniel Connell and Jamie Pittock

This groundbreaking book provides a comparative perspective on water and federalism across multiple countries. Through a collection of case studies, this book explores the water management experiences and lessons learned in ten federal countries and China. The territorial division of power in federations, plus the interconnected politics at the national and regional levels, present a classic governance test for waters shared across multiple political jurisdictions. This is increasingly important as democratic transitions have introduced or invigorated federalism across diverse contexts affecting more than 300 major river basins, including over half of the world’s international rivers.
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Chapter 7: Water management and ecosystems: a new framework in Mexico

Managing Water in Multi-Layered Political Systems

Eugenio Barrios


The history of Mexico as an independent country begins 200 years ago, but it entered its gestation as a modern nation only 100 years ago with the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The political and social evolution of Mexico during the past century is the story of the configuration of a federation, which has shaped the pathway of water management. Water, perhaps like no other resource, is debated between the camps of decentralization and concentration of powers, and the constant demand for local solutions and societal participation. Aboites et al. (2010) identifies three major phases in the development of water management in Mexico in the last 100 years: ëlocal waterí, ënational waterí and ëcommercial-environmental waterí. This identification helps to understand at a glance the guiding policies of the resource management. With the birth of the nation local management prevails. Water united all of the local actors both in taking care of it and in the resolution of related conflicts: some colonial water partitions were maintained for up to three centuries. Later, as of the Revolution of 1910, the management of water enters into a phase completely centralized by the federal government that, according to the view of water as a leverage for development, is aimed at responding to the big projects required by the country: in a period of 80 years, the storage capacity of the country went from 10,000 to 142 billion cubic meters.

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