Ten years ago, in East Harlem, New York, an area known as El Barrio, members of fifteen Mexican immigrant families, all of them women, came together to see how they could achieve dignified housing in their community. They were struggling against gentrification and displacement; their landlord was trying to force them out of their homes in order to attract wealthier tenants and transform the neighbourhood they lived in. These were people without previous experience of organising, and they knew that they had much to learn, but they listened to and supported each other and in December 2004 they formed Movement for Justice in El Barrio (Movement).
The question facing Sonora and most other states on both sides of the international border across the TransBorder West is whether governments and inhabitants are willing to accept the expense and impact of sustaining their hydraulic societies. Whether the benefits of new water megaprojects outweigh the costs?
Hydraulic megaprojects will keep Sonora “competitive and sustainable” and create a “Nuevo Sonora,” declared Governor Guillermo Padrés at the start of his six-year term (2009-2015). Elsewhere, local and national governments and international institutions are shifting their focus away from megaprojects like dams.
Sonoran Governor Padrés launched a package of water megaprojects, including an aqueduct to transfer water from the Yaqui River to the depleted Sonora River basin, as part of the Sonora SI in 2010. Yaqui opposition to the aqueduct, water contamination and the discovery that the governor had illegally built dams on his family’s ranch has cast a shadow on the governor’s promise of a New Sonora.