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The government of Queretaro's response to an impending water crisis

Soraya Cardenas Vallejo, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Government has two main objectives: legitimation and accumulation. As part of the legitimation function, government officials must protect the public in order to maintain their power. This secures public support for future elections and discourages major conflicts, which may result in their removal from power. Government's accumulation function necessitates that officials support economic growth that will increase their revenues, such as by supporting investments by industry. Problems arise when these two functions conflict with each other (O'Connor 1973). Often, maintaining one function means neglecting the other. Thus arises the question: how will government respond to environmental crisis when these two functions of protecting the public and procuring investments require opposing actions? ^ This dissertation, using a case study approach, addresses the role of governments and how they respond to a water crisis of water scarcity. The study was conducted in Queretaro, Mexico. Over the last forty years Queretaro's economy and population have greatly expanded. As a consequence of municipal, industrial and agricultural demands, Queretaro has critically depleted its primary water source, the aquifer, El Valle de Queretaro. The governments must solve this problem in the next three to twelve years, or the aquifer will be depleted to a point at which water can no longer be extracted. ^ Based on my interviews and observations in Queretaro, I saw no evidence that the municipal, state and federal government are attempting to inform the public about the city's impending water crisis. In addition, there is no city-wide campaign to encourage conservation. On the other hand, most government and civic leaders continue to encourage investment and economic growth to increase revenues. This is clearly indicated in Queretaro's promotional brochures, which are available to any interested investor. The state brochure clearly states that environmental regulations are made flexible to accommodate investors' needs. This statement subtracts the government's legitimation function of protecting its public. Thus, in my case study, I contend that government emphasizes the accumulation function at the expense of the environment. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, General|Sociology, General

Recommended Citation

Cardenas Vallejo, Soraya, "The government of Queretaro's response to an impending water crisis" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3064557.