Looming Conflicts? Energy Reform Priorities and the Human Right of Access to Water in Mexico
Posadas, Alejandro; Buono, Regina M.
Constitutional reform of Mexico’s energy sector is targeted, in part, at facilitating access via unconventional recovery efforts to shale gas reserves in northeastern Mexico. The methods—namely hydraulic fracturing—require lots of water, which may be difficult to obtain in regions where water is already scarce. The reform prioritizes energy development, requiring landowners to cooperate with companies developing hydrocarbons. In 2012, access to water was enshrined in the Constitution as a human right, an entitlement the judiciary has shown itself willing to enforce. These conflicting legal priorities create the potential for conflict over water allocation, a situation exacerbated by increasing scarcity due to drought and population and economic growth. This chapter reviews the state of water in Mexico in light of the reform, considers the social conflict that may be precipitated by opposing priorities, and offers recommendations to alleviate tensions as energy production increases.