22-27 September 2019
Trade Fairs and Congress Center (FYCMA)
Europe/Madrid timezone

Transboundary Aquifers: moving beyond boundaries to management alternatives

23 Sep 2019, 11:15
Conference room 2.2 ()

Conference room 2.2

Oral Topic 1 - Groundwater assessment and management Parallel


Dr Rosario Sanchez (Texas A&M University)


Over the last decade, transboundary aquifers traversing the Mexico-Texas border have generated growing interest by federal institutions on the Mexico side, and state and federal institutions on the Texas side. Notwithstanding this attention, binational efforts to understand, assess, and manage shared groundwater resources remain limited, sporadic and politically sensitive. On the Mexico side, long-standing centralized groundwater governance structures, has created institutional barriers at the local level to the expansion of knowledge and cooperation over these transboundary resources. On the Texas side, property rights related to groundwater resources limit the scope of options available for cooperative management of cross-border aquifers. This paper examines stakeholders’ perspectives on the borderland between Mexico and Texas through 44 surveys and personal interviews. Findings show that stakeholders appear to support a binational groundwater agreement as a means for assuring the sound long-term management of transboundary groundwater resources in the border region; however, the majority of stakeholders also suggest that short-term local or regional arrangements may be preferable over binational agreements as local/regional approaches may be more achievable or realistic. Second, participants identified leadership and individual personalities as key factors for success at the local level, but noted that that such influence had limited sustainability over time and limited regional-systemic effects. Third, the stakeholders indicated that water quality, rather than water quantity, is the main driver of transboundary cooperation and communication efforts in the region. Fourth, participants suggested that failures and successes in groundwater cooperation efforts are based more on fear and political lobbying than on understanding of scientific facts.

Primary author

Dr Rosario Sanchez (Texas A&M University)


Prof. Gabriel Eckstein (Texas A&M School of Law)

Presentation Materials

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