Water Scarcity, Flooding, and Public Infrastructure in Mexico City

Resource System
Watershed and Built Infrastructure.
Resource Units
water flow management
Mexico City

Mexico City, a megalopolis of 22 million, is located at the center of the Basin of Mexico. For over 600 years, catastrophic flooding and access to potable water have challenged the city’s residents, motivating extensive investments in hard infrastructure to supply the city with fresh water, or to protect the city from periodic flooding. The case study catalogues an action situation involving residents and their local, city, state, and federal governments that formally and informally govern land, water, and the built infrastructure that regulates water supply and flood risk.

The key resources (natural infrastructure) in the system are the hydrology, topography, aquifer (shared), and land (private) that make up the Basin of Mexico watershed. The key resource relevant to the commons dilemma faced by the city is water, regulated by built infrastructure (common-pool) that extracts, exports, dams, and moves water into and out of the city.