Based on the public interest and the prior relevant technical studies, the Executive is legally empowered: i) to modify or remove closed zones[1] of water basins, and ii) to declare total or partial Reserve Zones[2] in aquifers, water basins, and hydrological regions, as well as limit their use and exploitation.

In accordance with the above, President Enrique Peña Nieto published on June 6th, 2018, ten Decrees that removed the closure of 295/757[3] water basins and declared them Partial Reserved Zones. Said basins are located in the States of Aguascalientes, Campeche, Chiapas, Guerrero, Jalisco, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, and Zacatecas. 

Of the total amount of resources in the 295 water basins, only 7% to 20 % is available for use and exploitation through Allocations or Concessions[4]. In the Decrees, the State also reserved volume for environmental, and urban and domestic uses.

Please note that the National Water Law prioritizes sectors such as farming or power generation for public service before other industrial uses.[5] Therefore, it is very likely that the availability of water will continue to depend on of the secondary market.

For further details regarding water basins and their availability in Mexico click on the link:

Finally, it is worth mentioning that the recent classification of 295 Partial Reserved Zones might remain so for a minimum of 50 years. Any amendment or revocation decision must be supported by the relevant technical studies considering the national hydric plans and the needs of land-use management (national and local).[6]

Do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Sources: Federal Official Gazette: Evening Edition. June 6th, 2018 and Press conference of the National Water Commission’s General Director. Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources. June 19th, 2018.  

By Nancy Guillén1

Muvoil Consulting is a group of specialists in the O&G sector: legal, fiscal, social and environmental. Our multidisciplinary approach allows us to design strategic solutions that can disentangle the most complex regulatory and transactional challenges that a petroleum project can face.

[1] Lawyer, specialized in E&P Contracts, migration process of Pemex’s Entitlements, administrative and energy law.
[2] Water basins in which the use and exploitation of water are banned, therefore it is not possible to get allocations or concessions.  

[3] Articles 6, section II and III, 38, 39 and 41 of the National Water Law

[4] Granted to the States, Municipalities and interested parties, respectively.

[5] Article 22, third paragraph and Transitory Fifteenth of the National Waters Law.

[6] Andrés Manuel López Obrador candidate of the coalition Juntos haremos historia recently expressed that in case of winning the next elections he will revoke all the Decrees mentioned. (June 22th, 2018). La Jornada Editors. Cancelaré decreto de EPN sobre uso de agua: AMLO. La Jornada. Available at: