Desalination and water security in the US–Mexico border region: assessing the social, environmental and political impacts.

Publicado en Water International, v. 41(5):756-775

Wilder, M. O., Aguilar-Barajas, I., Pineda-Pablos, N., Varady, R. G., Megdal, S. B., McEvoy, J., Merideth, R., Zúñiga-Terán, A. A., Scott, C. A.

Año de publicación 2016


This work was supported by a Puentes Consortium Award (Rice University) the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Sectoral Applications Research and Climate&ndashSociety Interactions Programs [grant numbers NAO8OAR431070 and NA11OAR4310143] the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research [project number SGP-CRA #005], which is supported by the National Science Foundation [grant number GEO-1138881] and NSF [grant number DEB-1010495]. Additional support was provided by Lloyd&rsquos Register Foundation [grant number CE-12-1051/CE-12-0801], and the Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation [grant number MKU04747].


Proyecto SGP-CRA 005


In the western US&ndashMexico border region, both countries&rsquo authorities look to desalination as a means to meet increased demands for dwindling supplies. In addition to several existing or planned desalination plants, plans exist to develop projects along Mexico&rsquos coasts to convert seawater into freshwater primarily for conveyance and consumption in the United States. Even though desalination systems have the potential to increase water supply in the region, there are associated consequences, costs and constraints. To understand the impacts of such binational desalination systems, this paper assesses, through a water-security framework, the case of a proposed desalination plant on the Upper Gulf of California. The analysis suggests that for binational desalination systems, there are several key areas of impact against which the benefits of increased water supply must be weighed.