Water management and justice in the borderlands: perspectives from and analysis of the Santa Cruz River Basin
The Santa Cruz River Basin shared by Northern Sonora and Southern Arizona is one example of transboundary water resources in the borderlands region that accurately portrays the complexities of binational management of common pool resources, such as water. Industrialization fueled by trade liberalization has resulted in migration to and urbanization along the border, which have created human rights issues with the lack of water and sanitation, groundwater overdraft of the shared aquifers, and contamination of these scarce resources. Effluent from wastewater treatment plants continues to play increasingly important roles in the region, the use of which has been a source of tension between the two countries. Contributing to these tensions are the strains on binational relations created by border militarization and SB 1070. A shift in water management strategies to increase pubic participation within decision-making, increase the flexibility of the water systems, and increase cross-border collaboration is needed to ensure human and ecological sustainability in the Santa Cruz River Basin. By incorporating direct communication and local capacity as per common pool resource theory, recognizing the connections and implications of management actions through socio-ecological systems understanding, and promoting the organic drivers of change through ecologies of agents, just and vigorous futures can be envisioned and advanced.