Urban Water Development in La Paz, Mexico 1960-Present: a Hydrosocial Perspective

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Water History

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The impact of human activity in the terrestrial water cycle is not contested, yet social data are not fully explained, observed, or shared. This is especially true among low- and middle-income countries. This paper enters the conversation on hydrosocial systems to diagram a watershed in urban Mexico which highlights the historical, biophysical, eco- nomic, and cultural relations embedded in the development of urban water infrastructure. Our critical hydrosocial perspective, situated in political ecology and hydrology science, addresses the challenges of managing water resources for a growing population in a desert city. We integrate hydrological and historical data to show how broadening the scale of study from the political boundary of the city to the physical boundary of the watershed identifies human impacts on the water cycle and exposes uneven water allocation under drought conditions. An inclusive review of the historical development of urban water infrastructure in the city challenges the traditional ideas of separation of urban and rural water users in the production of sustainable communities and waterscapes.


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