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Socio‐Hydrological Risk Transfer and Emergent Vulnerability in the Basin of Mexico

Residents in Mexico City experience water scarcity, flooding, or both. The dynamic of risk is in part due to the biophysical context of the watershed, but also related to the way the government has historically responded to risks with investments in built infrastructure. While these investments (wells, drains, pipes, and others not represented in this model) may mitigate risks for some communities in the short term at the expense of exposing other communities to the same or different risks in the long term. One such mechanism of risk transfer is through subsidence, because as more wells are built to extract water to address scarcity, the resulting increased subsidence may put other infrastructure investments at risk (e.g. flood drain pipes). Thus, solving water scarcity for one set of neighborhoods may come at the expense of increased flood risk locally or elsewhere in the watershed. Risk maybe “transferred” in type (from scarcity to flooding), over space (to a new part of the watershed), or in time. This version of the ABM is designed to understand risk transfers in type and in time (space has yet to be explored, but is a possible extension- this would require outputting model results for each neighborhood, or for each municipality, or other created region). Models results such as subsidence rates, number of neighborhoods protesting as result of flood vs. water scarcity, or number of protests over time can indicate possible risk transfers. In order to examine the impact of risk management on risk transfer, 7 possible governance scenarios are explored in this model to reflect potential preferences for repairing old infrastructure at random, fixing/building new infrastructure in the communities that protest the most, focusing on the communities with the most scarcity or flooding, or focusing on the communities that have the greatest or least average monthly income.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at