Roundtable: Securing Urban Viability through Nature: The Water Forest of Mexico City
(Environmental Sustainability)

Thursday, July 19, 2018: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
Building 3, Room 211 (ITAM)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Roundtable Moderators:  Maria Doerr, Conservacion Internacional Mexico
Speakers:  Jürgen Hoth, Conservation International Mexico, Alma Concepción Chávez Mejía, The Institute of Engineering at UNAM, Mario López Pérez, Mexican Institute of Water Technology and Rossana Landa Perera, Coordinator of Watershed Conservation FMCN

Metropolitan development relies on ecosystem services that provide urban residents with clean air, pure water and fresh food. To help safeguard water in the face of climate change and urbanization, policy-makers and citizens must value the importance of nature for urban viability.


This roundtable brings together scientific, civil society and governmental understanding to discuss the role of urban policy in protecting the Water Forest that provides water to 23 million people. Protecting the watersheds, aquifers, rivers and wetlands in and around Mexico City are key to providing the city with the water it needs, empowering indigenous and marginalized rural communities, and helping urban and rural Mexico unite for sustainable growth.


Water is considered an issue of national security for Mexico, with water shortage in the capital only expected to increase. The aquifers that provide 70% of the water used are already overexploited, and the unrelenting loss of forests and native grasslands is increasingly degrading watersheds and diminishing aquifer recharge, the last remaining rivers are heavily contaminated and biodiverse wetlands are being drained.


Community-based projects, city-wide infrastructure, policy-oriented research and coordinating of effective management of natural areas are but a few of the actions needed to protect and maintain water access.


The panelists will share their diverse perspectives of the water crisis in Mexico City as a case study relevant to other global megacities. Insights for effective collaboration between urban, rural and natural stakeholders in the Water Forest will be presented together with suggestions for mobilizing urban policy for improved sustainability.

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