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A tale of Mexico's most exploited—and connected—watersheds: the Basin of Mexico and the Lerma‐Chapala Basin

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Water management policies and their impacts for both the Basin of Mexico and the Lerma‐Chapala basin—where nearly 25% of Mexico's inhabitants are found—are described. This work shows that the prevailing water management policy has been the augmentation of water supply and neither policies have focused on water savings nor management of water demand. The effects of the large extraction rates on both basins have caused drying‐up of streams due to drawdown rates that reach 2.5 m/year with an associated land subsidence in different cities in these basins. Water management in Mexico needs to change from a water supply approach to a water efficiency approach, where water needs to be efficiently used. Water management will only improve when policies consider both technical and social perspectives. WIREs Water 2018, 5:e1247. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1247

Spatial distribution of inhabitants per municipality on Mexico according to the 2010 census. The enlarged areas show the largest cities in the basins
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Water table elevation of six different cities in both the Basin of Mexico and the Lerma‐Chapala basin: (a) Toluca (77), (b) Ecatepec, north of Mexico City in the Basin of Mexico (1), (c) Queretaro (48), (d) Celaya (47), (e) Leon (47), (f) Irapuato (47)
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Location of the Lerma–Chapala Basin and the Basin of Mexico, highlighting their main urban areas. The Basin of Mexico, is home to Mexico's largest city: Mexico City and its Metropolitan Area (MCMA) with approximately 20 million inhabitants. The Lerma‐Chapala basin represents the main water source for Mexico's second largest city: Guadalajara, with nearly 4.5 million inhabitants, is also a water source for the MCMA, as water extracted from the upper Lerma basin–through the Cutzamala and Lerma water supply systems–provides nearly 30% of Mexico City's water supply(1; 2). Other important cities within the Lerma‐Chapala basin are Toluca, Querétaro, León, Irapuato, Celaya and Salamanca. The figure shows the closed basins of Lake Cuitzeo and Lake Pátzcuaro, which are also considered part of the Lerma‐Chapala Basin. Color composite of Landsat‐8 images acquired between December 2016 and January 2017 overlaid on a shaded relief map generated from SRTM data
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Spatial distribution of yearly accumulated precipitation in Mexico for 1982. This year was selected because it is the year with the largest amount of records, and the number of climatological stations recording data has declined since that year
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