Assessment of the development of aquifer management councils (COTAS) for sustainable groundwater management in Guanajuato, Mexico

P. Wester, R. Sandoval Minero, J.D. Hoogesteger van Dijk

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Collective groundwater management by water users—self-regulation—is increasingly advocated as a complement to state regulation. This article analyzes the attempts by the Guanajuato State Water Commission (CEAG) in central Mexico to promote user self-regulation through the establishment and development of 14 Consejos Técnicos de Aguas (COTAS; Technical Water Councils). Based on a joint assessment by a former senior CEAG policy-maker and two researchers, Guanajuato’s groundwater-management policy is reviewed to understand why user self-regulation was less successful than expected. It concludes that increasing awareness and improving the knowledge base on groundwater is not enough to trigger self-regulation by groundwater users. A wider delegation of responsibilities to the COTAS is necessary, combined with: (1) functioning mechanisms for enforcing groundwater legislation, especially concerning well permits and pumped volumes, and (2) mechanisms that ensure the legitimacy and accountability of users’ representatives to both users and state agencies
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-899
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011



  • user associations
  • governance
  • challenges
  • issues
  • institutions
  • countries
  • policies
  • states
  • india

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