ISSN: 1870-5472

Números publicados:

Volumen 7, Número 1. Ene-Abr 2010



As a key natural resource for human survival, water has always had great political and economic importance. The global change towards neoliberalism generates an intense discussion about how natural resources should be managed and, among them, water resources controlled by the State, by the capitalist market system or by users’ groups. In this discussion, we present a debate regarding applied knowledge, distinguishing between scientific knowledge by foreign experts and the local knowledge of resource users, like Mayan indigenous peoples, who faced their environment and developed an elaborate water management system. The objective of the study was to document knowledge by the Maya people regarding water management. This knowledge includes the population’s perception regarding the water resource, the customs that prevail, as well as the different sources for utilization, uses and management elements. The field work was carried out between May, 2006, and January, 2007, in the Vista Hermosa hamlet (Guatemala), with the help of 59 informants, through observations, different types of interviews and participant mapping. Culturally specialized informants gave a first image of the local water management system and, beginning with them, the snowball principle was applied to meet the other informants. Data from interviews and maps, among others, were codified and analyzed by frequencies, differences or similarities in the codes. As a result, we found that in Vista Hermosa there is a perception of water that is composed of different concepts and customs. The most important source of water for the hamlet are fountains; their supply system is composed of mini-irrigation and household-supply (tap) projects, water from rivers and fountains that are not captured, as well as a nursery and a municipal lumberyard. With regards to the image of water, we found many types of relationships between elements of the management system and the ways that inhabitants in Vista Hermosa utilize water, taking advantage of it through organized neighbors’ groups and not individually, which allows socialization of knowledge and an efficient use of the community infrastructure.

Palabras clave: Interviews, participant mapping, mayans, hydric resources.

Volumen 7, Número 1

Volumen 7, Número 1
Ene-Abr 2010


Said Infante Gil

Director de ASyD

Benito Ramírez Valverde

Comité Asesor Editorial Interno

Ma. Eugenia Chávez Arellano
Juan Antonio Leos Rodríguez
Jaime Matus Gardea
Jacinta Palerm Viqueira
Verónica Vázquez García
Emma Zapata Martelo
Pilar Alberti Manzanares
Colegio de Postgraduados · Estadística · Km 36.5 Carretera México-Texcoco · 56230
Apartado Postal 199 · 56190 · Texcoco Edo. de México ·