Abstract

The arrival of new industries in some municipalities of ‘El Bajío’ in Guanajuato state, Mexico, has brought about appreciable economic development and human impacts, but has also caused changes in the management of the aquifers from which they get water for their operations. In some cases, the aquifers are overexploited and contaminated at different levels. A number of agencies have the main responsibility for managing, protecting and conducting studies on water use in both municipalities and the state and, in this context, experts from these agencies were consulted as part of this study about what environmental, social, economic and hydrological aspects had the highest priority when considering the establishment of a new industry in the zone. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP) methodology was used. Results show that hydrological aspects were the most important and, within them, treatment and reuse of water had the highest priority. It was concluded, therefore, that for the experts to reuse water in some activities and productive processes must be an option to decrease the water extraction from aquifers, supposing that the treatment process complied with the required regulations. Given the present conditions in the region, we can affirm that these results are applicable to the whole of El Bajío.

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