Mining of Internationally Shared Aquifers: The El Paso-Juarez Case

Posted: 18 Oct 2000

See all articles by Octavio E. Chavez

Octavio E. Chavez

International City/County Management Associaion, ICMA Mexico


The Paso del Norte on the U.S.-Mexico Border is a region where economic, social, and cultural lives are intertwined. However, management of natural resources faces sometimes insufficient communication among government agencies responsible for their well being. The international dimension of the region aggravates the lack of coordination among government agencies of both countries. As the region's main aquifer, the Hueco Bolson's ability to support the region's water needs is coming to an end. Additionally, there is no legal framework that could facilitate the process of bringing all the parties together on common grounds to address the situation. As population growth is expected to continue, so is the demand for water. The white map syndrome, when nothing is considered to exist on the other side of a border line, is a fact of life in the region. The cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez are one large metroplex with two distinct water systems. Unless all the actors in the region really work together to jointly develop alternatives for future water supply, the region is on a collision path. Water is a precious resource anywhere, especially in the desert. The problem is that people and institutions in these cities seem to have forgotten, because water comes from the tap, that they are in the desert.

Suggested Citation

Chavez, Octavio E., Mining of Internationally Shared Aquifers: The El Paso-Juarez Case. Available at SSRN:

Octavio E. Chavez (Contact Author)

International City/County Management Associaion, ICMA Mexico ( email )

Justo Sierra 2847
Col. Vallarta Norte
44690 Guadalajara, Jal

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