MEXICO, NORTH AMERICA
Ignacio Allende Reservoir
The artificial Ignacio Allende Reservoir is located in the central region of Mexico, on an alluvial plain in the state of Guanajuato. It is one of the most important water reservoirs in the region, with water classified as “high quality” by the federal government and is used for irrigation (60 %), domestic consumption, fisheries, aquaculture and recreation.
The construction of the dam was done some time ago in 1967. This is why the reservoir shows a development towards natural conditions, which makes it important for local and migratory waterfowl. Native species of fish include Catfish, Juil, Sardinita and Charal, which are endemic to this area of the country.
The entire watershed of the reservoir is in a state of degradation caused by decades of deforestation (mainly to increase agricultural cover), overgrazing and gravel extraction alongside stream creeks. This has led to extreme erosion, soil compaction and the loss of perennial springs. These conditions in turn increase run-off into the reservoir leading to increasing problems with sedimentation. Another problem is the lack of treatment of municipal sewage which is discharged into the rivers and hampers the water quality of the reservoir.
The Institute Corazón de la Tierra has been promoting the application of the watershed approach with local stakeholders to address the causes of problems. This is achieved by organizing discussion forums and workshops.It has also provided training in several techniques and methodologies, and fostered the exchange of experiences and networking with other lake management groups in Mexico.
The institute also diagnosed the environmental governance of the Ignacio Allende basin and developed an improvement plan, based on the strengthening of stakeholders, generation of information, creation of local financing funds, use of low cost eco-technologies for rainwater collection and sewage treatment in rural areas, among other aspects.