SMNR: Water for Everyone: Transformative Approaches to Mexico City's Water Crisis

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 6.257

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location


The Mexico City Metro Area (MCMA) is a mega-city with a resident population of some 26 million people—far larger than the populations of the four Texas metroplexes combined. It is a near-neighbor to Austin by plane—just over two hours away. The MCMA is plagued by water problems, some of them as old as the Aztecs, who founded the city on a lake-bed—a huge mistake!—and all of them as current as right now. These problems run a wide gamut that includes chronic delivery issues, a potability myth (mostly), land subsidence, infrastructure infirmities, flood endangerment, water supply predation by the soft drink industry, a plastic bottle deluge, agricultural irrigation impacts, climate perturbations, and a $40-billion-plus wastewater collection and treatment facility, presently under construction, that may or may not do its job. The MCMA thus represents, in macrocosmic proportion, virtually all of the urban water challenges in the world, including many now being experienced throughout Latin America and within cities and towns in the United States. This seminar will examine a selection of these problems and will engage in a search for the most plausible-- at times, the most innovative--solutions, using the right to water, as framed by the Right to the City, as a consistent lens. It will be conducted under the joint auspices of the U.T. School of Law and the Law Department of I.T.A.M. (Instituto Tecnológico Autonómo de México) and will enroll students from both schools under the supervision of one U.T. law professor, three I.T.A.M. law professors, and a T.A. from U.T.’s Jackson School of Geosciences. The course of study will include one required, all-expenses-paid trip to Mexico City for all U.T. enrollees, hosted by our I.T.A.M. counterparts, to attend expert consultations, tour important sites, meet affected residents, and plan the jointly-conducted research. This trip will take place early in the term. Enrollment in this seminar is limited to thirteen U.T. students. There is no prerequisite, including no Spanish language prerequisite, but strong interest and commitment is expected. Student evaluation will center on a final research paper, which may be written collaboratively with other seminar participants, in addition to well-prepared class contributions and attendance. Paper publication will be encouraged.