Mexican Water institutions

In Mexico, institutional power is most heavily vested in the President and the federal agencies. According to Article 27 of the Constitution, the President is granted the power to regulate the extraction and use of the nation’s waters, to establish areas where water cannot be extracted and, through his designated agents, establish rules for issuance of permits for water use under terms mandated by laws passed by the Congress.

The executive branch of the Mexico government includes several ministries, which correspond to the departments of the executive branch of the US government.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources (Secretaría de Agricultúra y Recursos Hidráulica, or SARH) is the most important ministry for allocating water. The National Water Commission was created by Congress and works in concert with SARH to carry out water allocation. The Commission operates with advisors from other ministries and is divided into five subcategories: 1) Planning and Finance; 2) Irrigation Works Infrastructure; 3) Urban and Industrial Infrastructure; 4) Research; and 5) Water Administration. The last category includes record keeping, granting of permits, and the overall process of water allocation from an administrative standpoint.

The Commission maintains six regional offices, each represented by a regional administrator appointed by the Commission director.

The Basin of Mexico is its own region. Within this region are the Federal District, and the States of Mexico, Hidalgo, Puebla, and Tlaxcala. Each of the represented states has a state regional director. While not unimportant, they exercise less power because of the tremendous financial and institutional power of the Federal District under a special law allocating water in the Federal District.

In the Mexico City Metropolitan Area, the key institutions are the Federal District, the National Water Commission, because of the substantial number of wells in the area and the trans basin diversions into the basin, and the State of Mexico. The Federal District is not a state, but in fact is an entity of the federal government and thus is regulated pursuant to special federal legislation. Accordingly, the Regente of the Federal District is named by the President. Institutionally and politically, the Federal District has the most influence in the MCMA compared to the State of Mexico.