International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Morgan Ruelle


Urbanization and climate change are resulting in extensive water scarcity across the globe. Mexico City is a prime example of this relationship. Due to neoliberal water policy reform and exponential urbanization along with inadequate water infrastructure and wastewater management systems, Mexico City is already experiencing issues in terms of water quality and equitable distribution. Climate change is projected to exacerbate these issues due to increasing temperatures and changes in annual precipitation trends resulting in water becoming more scarce or even hazardous through droughts and flooding events. For there to be effective adaptation methods, factors that result in vulnerability need to be clearly identified. This paper seeks to identify factors that contribute to Mexico City’s vulnerability to water scarcity and propose a solution to Mexico City’s water crisis that is accommodated by the current water infrastructure. We suggest the key to mitigating water scarcity in Mexico City lies in the reclamation of wastewater used for irrigation in the Mezquital Valley (located to the northwest of the city)to become a potential source of drinking water. Our proposed solution is supported by case studies from the United States, India, and Honduras where wastewater is treated and used as drinking water. The Mezquital Valley is well suited to becoming a source of drinking water due to its recharge rate and current wastewater irrigation practices. If wastewater were treated prior to agriculture use (following the models provided by our case studies), there would likely be an excess of clean groundwater that could be transported back to Mexico City. This would reduce stress on local aquifers in Mexico City, resolving issues such as land subsidence and supplying a sufficient amount of drinking water to mitigate water scarcity.



Available for download on Saturday, January 03, 2026