Mexico’s Legal Framework Regarding Wastewater Management: A Case Study of Baja California Sur

Ana Teresa Valdivia Alvarado, Alba E. Gámez, Luis Felipe Beltrán Morales, Alfredo Ortega-Rubio

Abstract

Wastewater is one of the principal causes of coastal ecosystem pollution and poses a threat to food security, drinking water access, public health, and ecosystem survival. However, wastewater can also be a reliable alternative source of water, provided specific changes are made. Mexico’s extensive and com¬plex legal framework involving various governmental agencies and overlapping jurisdictions makes it difficult to ascertain the specific responsibilities of various actors and enforce accountability in the area of wastewater management. The aim of this paper is to analyze the relevant law in order to determine whether it is the legislation itself which is generating adverse environmental impacts, or whether these impacts are the result of the wastewater management system as implemented. In this study, we analyze the legal framework applicable at each of the three levels of government in order to clarify the connections between these governmental entities from a perspective that has not been previously developed, which will be a useful point of departure for future research. To this end, the state of Baja California Sur (in northwestern Mexico) is presented as a case study insofar as it is representative of vulnerable coastal regions facing water scarcity. The methodology and systematic analysis of wastewater regulations employed in this paper facilitate both an evaluation of the efficacy of the current legal framework surrounding wastewater management, as well as the identification of changes needed in order to achieve environmental sustainability and protect water resources for present and future generations.

Keywords

legal framework; water management; wastewater regulation; Baja California Sur

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