The chinampa, a sustainable high efficient agrohydrologic system for shallow lacustrine or wetland areas, was invented by pre-Hispanic culture 3,000 years ago. The chinampa in the Valley of Mexico has been a sustainable and successful practice from the 15th century until now. This heritage and its continuity are now in the hands of the chinamperos (local farmers) of the Xochimilco–Chalco watershed south-east of the capital city of Mexico. The chinampa, consists of building layers of vegetation and sludge to produce organic soil 50 cm above the water level for agricultural use in wetlands. These layers form rectangles or plots 5–10 m wide by 50, 100 or more meters long, surrounded by water. When a significant number of chinampas are built, these form a network with small channels between each chinampa, and other broader channels which provide navigation routes. The chinampa is secured by trees called ahuejotes, whose roots hold soil, planted on the sides of the plot. Despite urban pressures, this paper demonstrates the relevance of the permanence of this system as a high efficient agrohydrologic system in balance with the ecosystem and which should also be regarded as a model to be transferred to other regions with similar conditions.

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