Water, Rural Livelihoods and Global Transformations: Geographies of Peri-Urban Areas in Mexico
AdvisorWilder, Margaret O
Committee ChairWilder, Margaret O
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe urban/peri-urban phenomenon is frequently studied as a territorial landscape for urban expansion, and a good deal of scholarship chronicles aspects of land annexation, housing construction, and infrastructure. But the question of how peri-urban water resources have been reallocated to serve urban needs has not received sufficient scholarly attention. Peri-urban water reallocation demands examination in arid regions where water is a critical resource. Mexico's northwest region represents one of the most critical examples; the most-drought prone region in Mexico, it is characterized by over-drafted groundwater sources and rapid urban growth. In this research, based on the case of Hermosillo, Sonora, I develop three distinct, yet related themes to examine the peri-urban phenomenon.First, this work draws on the notion of the "hydrosocial cycle" (Swyngedouw, 2004) to examine geographies of power at the urban-rural interface. Following Swyngedouw, we argue that urban water augmentation strategies reveal a distinct set of urban-rural relations of uneven social power where peri-urban water resources are "metabolized" in urban areas, reflecting the demands of powerful, politically connected urban individuals and populations over more disparate and marginalized rural producers. The Hermosillo case indicates that small-scale farming communities or ejidos are the most vulnerable water users because of their lack of political power in the governmental decision making process.Second, in this work, I examine how peri-urban rural livelihoods have been reshaped by cities' water reallocation causing ejidatarios in many cases to lose their livelihoods, but without creating new urban jobs as an alternative means of subsistence, resulting in a net negative outcome for ejido members.Finally, this research evaluates the land use/cover change dynamics and their effects in the peri-urban area of the city of Hermosillo. This study demonstrates that urban expansion causes at least two other types of land use/cover changes (LUCC) beyond the urban fringe that are not usually considered in LUCC studies. The research demonstrates that urban expansion in the peri-urban land is a broader and more complex phenomenon than previously understood and examines how water transfers act as a driver of land use/cover change.