Towards circular economy – a wastewater treatment perspective, the Presa Guadalupe case

Cesar Casiano Flores* (Corresponding Author), Hans Bressers, Carina Gutierrez, Cheryl de Boer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
106 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: In Mexico, only 19.3 per cent of industrial water is treated (Green-Peace, 2014, pp. 3-4), whereas municipal treatment levels are approximately 50 per cent (CONAGUA, 2014a). This paper aims to focus on how the wastewater treatment plant policy, from a circular economy perspective, is affected by the governance context at the Presa Guadalupe sub-basin. Circular economy can contribute to water innovations that help in improving water quality. However, such benefits are not easily achieved. This case provides an example of the complexity and challenges that the implementation of a circular economy model can face. Design/methodology/approach: Data are collected via semi-structured in-depth interviews with the stakeholders that are members of the Presa Guadalupe Commission. The contextual interaction theory (CIT) is the theoretical basis for this analysis (Boer de and Bressers, 2011; Bressers, 2009). Findings: The findings show that the wastewater treatment plant policy plays an important role in a circular economy model. Some incentives towards a circular economy model are already in place; however, the hurdles of a top-down implementation perspective, low availability of resources, prioritisation of short-term results, lack of enforcement of the “polluter pays”” principle and a linear model of water systems need to be overcome. If Mexico wants to move towards a circular economy model and if the government wants to enforce sustainable development principles, wastewater treatment is a challenge that must be addressed. Originality/value: There are few studies in the circular economy literature that have analysed its implementation under a governance arrangement perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-571
Number of pages18
JournalManagement research review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Circular economy
  • Mexico water management
  • Presa Guadalupe Mexico
  • Wastewater treatment policy
  • Water basin management
  • Water governance
  • Business ethics and sustainability


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