Mexico is currently facing important water management challenges. Cities in the country are facing water scarcity and at the same time they struggle with floods during the raining season. The water sensitive urban design (WSUD) approach has proved to be helpful around the world in tackling urban water challenges such as floods or water scarcity. The WSUD approach highlights the role of both the water cycle and the water utilities systems, when transitioning towards a water sensitive stage. Therefore, the objective of this research is to demonstrate the relevance for cities of a WSUD approach by analyzing the current situation of the water cycle and the water utility in the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (MAG). This research proposes a case study approach. Within our case of study, we focused on the water cycle and the water utilities system (Sistema Intermunicipal de los Servicios de Agua Potable y Alcantarillado (SIAPA)) and ask two questions: (1) What are the causes of water scarcity and flooding in the MAG? and (2) What are the proposals to solve these problems under a WSUD approach? By answering these questions, we identified that the water management in the MAG corresponds to a single purpose infrastructure. This type of water management is common in developing cities and does not contribute to solve the problems of water scarcity and floods. The water supply policy is based only on the construction of large dams disregarding the storage and use of rainwater, and reuse of greywater, and water-conservation devices. In order to transition towards a water sensitive stage, changes in the water policy need to take place and a WSUD approach that includes multi-purpose infrastructure, should be considered.
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