Uses and exploitation of water

Uses and exploitation of water

By: Ismael Baltazar Tapia


On March 22nd, 2023, World Water Day is celebrated. It was established 20 years ago by the United Nations Organization (UN). In this context, it is important to visit the uses and exploitation of water that exist in Mexico.

Within the Mexican legal system, water is a public domain asset, imprescriptible and inalienable, which original belongs to the Nation and can be subject to use as provided in article 27 of the Constitution. Jointly, the principles of protection and conservation have been established (as per article 25), with which the Mexican State seeks a balance between the use of natural resources for development and their conservation, which implies taking the necessary actions to avoid its scarcity.

Thus, the Constitution acknowledges the need for the use and development of water, but since it is a finite natural resource, it must be distributed equitably. Therefore, the Federal Executive through the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) or the Basin Organization, jointly known as the Water Authority, can grant Assignment Titles (for Municipalities or Federative Entities for public urban or domestic water services) or Concession Titles (for natural or legal persons of a different public and private nature) for the use or exploitation of national waters, depending on the activity for which the water is used.

In this context, the National Water Law (LAN), which regulates article 27 of the Constitution, establishes that the exploitation implies the use of water in activities that do not generate its consumption, while the use supposes the partial or total consumption of that resource.

Thus, in the use of water without consumptive purposes, as is the case of hydroelectric plants, ecological conservation and aquaculture, while the use that can be given to water is consumptive, that is, the amount of water that leaves is less than the one that returns to the source of supply. These include industrial, agricultural, livestock and urban public uses.

Lastly, given the limited nature of water, the LAN establishes that the Water Authority when granting Concession and Assignment Titles for the use or exploitation of national, surface and underground waters, will give preference to domestic use and public use.

At B+F we have a multidisciplinary team with the professional training and experience necessary to accompany our clients in procedures such as obtaining, modifying, transmitting and extending Concession Titles/Assignment of national surface and underground waters, while always guaranteeing proper sustainable use of water.