SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN ARID ZONES: THE INFLUENCE OF WATER AVAILABILITY IN THE SAN LUIS POTOSÍ BASIN, MEXICO
Authors: Sandra Martinez, Javier Delgado, Oscar Escolero, Eloisa Domínguez and Manuel Suárez
Abstract: Where rapid urbanization occurs in arid zones, the socio-economic system places severe stress on water resources that, in turn, form a constraint on socio-economic development. A review of the San Luis Potosí Basin identified the dynamic of the socioeconomic process that drives the development of water resources. At each stage, when utilization of water resources approached or exceeded its threshold, engineering efforts were put into practice to increase the volume available. The case study indicates that the foundations and main driving forces of socio-economic development in San Luis Potosí are generally similar to those of other urban basins in Mexico’s arid zone. Growth rates of economic activity and population in Mexico’s arid zone are among the nation’s highest. However, development is often severely limited by high stress on water resources. In order to face that challenge, a paradigm change has iniciated in which integrated water resources management plays the central policy element. In this chapter, some initiatives will be presented that put in practice this approach, and measures necessary to reach a balance between socio-economic and water related goals are discussed.