Crater Lake Restoration in Valle de Santiago, Guanajuato: Effectiveness of Agricultural Groundwater Management
Subjectscrater lake; restoration; iValle de Santiago, Guanajuato; agricultural groundwater management
Valle de Santiago, GTO, Mexico, is home to the Seven Lights, a collection of seven crater- lakes that were declared a natural state protected area in 1993. These lakes lie within the Trans- Mexican Volcanic Belt which has one of the highest concentrations of endemism. Unfortunately, as agricultural frontiers expand in the region, the extraction of groundwater is increasing. This over extraction of groundwater is having an effect on the lake levels; it is causing them to decrease. Out of the seven lakes, only two craters still have an existing lake, the others have completely desiccated. This problem is affecting the biodiversity and the income generated through tourism for the area. The objective of this study was to evaluate the restoration of the crater lake of Rincon de Parangueo, one of two craters that still have an existing lake, by using a cost-benefit analysis to determine the trade-offs of shifting crop production in the area from high water demanding crops to ones that are more drought resistant in an effort to conserve water. This analysis will determine whether making this change will be sustainable both for the environment and society. The results indicate which crops would be suitable to substitute high water demanding crops cultivated in the area based on their water usage and how much income they will generate for the farmers. These results were also used to evaluate how water conservation would improve in the region and the effects it would have on the crater.
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