Context matters: water governance assessment of the wastewater treatment plant policy in Central Mexico

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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A lack of wastewater treatment is one of the main water problems worldwide. In high-income countries, 70% of wastewater is typically treated, but the rate falls to an average 28% in lower-middle-income countries. This low level has negative consequences for human health and for nature, with high economic costs. One response is the construction of wastewater treatment plants (WTP). In Mexico, the federal government has made efforts to increase the WTP capacity. However, neither of the last two federal administrations has achieved the intended goals, and very few studies have been conducted to find out why. This research starts from the premise that contextual factors play an important role in restricting or supporting policy implementation. Consequently, this article-based research analyses the governance context in central Mexico by employing Contextual Interaction Theory and the Governance Assessment Tool. Three cases were selected from the most polluted basins in Mexico. Data collection involved 66 semi-structured in-depth interviews with stakeholders. The main conclusions were that the existing context generally restricts WTP policy implementation and that Integrated Water Resources Management implementation and decentralization are only symbolic. The most restrictive instance was found to be where the participation of the state government was particularly limited. As such, strengthening the role of the state government, and improving mechanisms that currently limit the impact of political game, could be instrumental in increasing the support offered by the governance context.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Kuks, Stefan M.M., Supervisor
  • Bressers, Hans T.A., Supervisor
  • de Boer, Cheryl L., Co-Supervisor
Award date24 Mar 2017
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-4322-4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2017


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