Water Access Technologies Based on Traditional Knowledge In Mexico: Obstacles And Strengths

  • María Luisa Torregrosa FLACSO
  • Jordi Vera
  • Karina Kloster
  • Beatriz Torres


Solving water access for human consumption in Mexico has been a challenge since the Pre-Hispanic period, mainly due to the geographic distribution of water and its hydrological characteristics in the area. Since those days until today, syncretistic process have been taking place to solve water needs emerging amongst the population, these processes included both the introduction of completely new elements and the renaming as well as the redesigning of already existing devices for water manipulation. In this paper two of the following devices are
considered to analyze the causes of use and disuse of devices themselves for human water provision. The first device existed just before the Pre-Hispanic period, namely jagüey and refer to artificial rainwater deposits carved in the soil near the hills, houses or buildings. The second one, introduced by the Spaniards and taken from the Arab influence, aims at infiltrating galleries, underground horizontal channels transporting water by gravity as far as reaching the surface as a well spring.
From a multidimensional approach, based upon the analysis of four case studies, two for jagüeyes and two for infiltrating galleries, considering for each technology one case in use and one in disuse, authors identify the analytical dimension that should achieve a better understanding of the issue: deep social differentiation among users of such technology; decision making bodies to mediate differences; technological knowledge and
operating culture in relation to the use of technologies; operating culture in relation to maintenance of technologies.
The article explores reproductive forms of technologies by unraveling social and cultural processes which have made possible technology to be used, kept and socially assimilated. The article explores the multidimensional aspects that make water access technologies as jagüeyes and infiltrating galleries prevail or disappear in time; the role that each dimension, cultural, social, technological and knowledge play in the reproduction of technology or its disuse.

How to Cite
TORREGROSA, María Luisa et al. Water Access Technologies Based on Traditional Knowledge In Mexico: Obstacles And Strengths. Plurimondi, [S.l.], n. 7, sep. 2017. ISSN 2420-921X. Available at: <http://plurimondi.poliba.it/index.php/Plurimondi/article/view/17>. Date accessed: 05 oct. 2023.