Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geological Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Advisor 1

John S. Gierke

Committee Member 1

Kari Henquinet

Committee Member 2

Rudiger Escobar Wolf


The Valle de Querétaro Aquifer is the only viable local water source satisfying the domestic, agricultural, and industrial water needs of the Querétaro Valley. Severe depletion of the groundwater source has had significant consequences throughout the region, especially in the peri-urban communities of Santo Niño de Praga, Tlacote el Bajo, and La Palma. Historically, residents depended on aquifer-fed freshwater springs (known as Los Tajos) to meet their basic and productive needs. Spring production ceased between 10 and 15 ago and investigating the causes formed the basis of this research.

Analysis of available qualitative and quantitative data was used to identify the environmental and anthropogenic factors that have contributed to changes in the aquifer over time. A groundwater budget analysis was used to determine which hydrological components have had the most significant impact on groundwater availability.

Evaluation of available data indicates that several factors have contributed to a severe depletion of the aquifer over time. Modification of the land surface and a mountainous landscape hydrology have impacted recharge potential in the region. Over-extraction to meet the water demand of the growing urban population and sustain the agricultural and manufacturing industries have contributed to a severe depletion of the Valle de Querétaro Aquifer. The groundwater budget analysis quantitatively confirms that groundwater extraction and recharge are the hydrological components that have had the greatest impact on groundwater availability. Extraction rates have exceeded recharge rates for decades, resulting in a consistent groundwater deficit and a corresponding drop in the water table across the aquifer. Ultimately, a drastically lowered water table over time due to over-extraction and limited recharge ultimately caused flow cessation in Los Tajos.