Urban Erosion Control and Storm Water Harvesting in Northern Mexico

Project Number: 
Project Duration: 
29 months
June 17, 2004 to October 31, 2006
Institution of Principle Investigator while on this project: 
University of Arizona

Investigators (most current known information)

Professor and Head, Department of Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, The University of Arizona, 1200 E. South Campus Dr., Tucson AZ 85721
USA, TEL: +1-520-621-3691, FAX: +1-520-621-3963, Email: slackd@email.arizona.edu
Project Leader (Collaborator), USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Station, 2500 S. Pine Knoll Dr., Flagstaff AZ 86001
Instituto Tecnologico de Nogales, Ave. Instituto Tecnologico No. 911, Apdo. Postal 796, Nogales SONORA 84064, MEXICO
TEL: +52-631-314-5676, FAX: +52-631-314-5615

Proposal Abstract

The original goal of this demonstration project was to show that the harvesting of water, along with the establishment of structures to stabilize slopes and allow the planting of native and arid-adapted species, can enhance urban ecosystems and mitigate the impact of the urban area on regional water sources. In addition, because of the financial constraints and overabundance of old tires, many of which originated within the United States, the project goals included the use scrap tires for erosion control and bank stabilization structures. A significant component of this project was the participation of local residents in the identification of the problem and the proposed solution. Thus, the project worked in partnership with local residents, university and college faculty and students, to simultaneously address four major environmental problems that are common in urban areas along the U.S.-Mexico border. These include: (1) structurally sound management of erosion from steep slopes; (2) use of native vegetation to restore degraded hillslopes; (3) incorporation of water harvesting to irrigate this vegetation and augment scarce water resources; and (4) safe management of used tires. The project was carried out through a partnership between faculty and student researchers of the University of Arizona and those of the Instituto Tecnológico de Nogales (ITN). Initially it also included collaboration with teachers, administrators and students from Escuela Secundaria General 3; parents and other residents in the area served by the school; local, federal, and state government agencies; and civic organizations in Nogales, Sonora. Partners included Escuela Secundaria General 3; Club Rotario Nogales; the Municipal Government of Nogales, Sonora; the city government of Nogales, Arizona; the USDA Forest Service; and residents of Nogales, Sonora.

Unfortunately, after detailed plans had been completed for all of the proposed interventions on the campus of the Escuela Secundaria General 3, the school principal allowed a local construction company to dispose of waste materials (concrete, asphalt and soil) on the site. Since the project budget was not sufficient to remove these materials and since the relationship with Escuela Secundaria General 3 was essentially destroyed by these actions, the project was modified to that of a water harvesting and slope stabilization demonstration on the campus of Instituto Tecnologico de Nogales. From this point on, the project proceeded well with excellent collaboration from ITN faculty and students and participation of the students in construction of the tire structures. This report details all aspects of the project including the initial attempts at Escuela Secundaria General 3, several seminars and workshops and the final slope stabilization and water harvesting demonstration. Although IALC funding has been exhausted, activities at the demonstration site are beingcarried on by the student and faculty of ITN. In addition to construction of slope stabilization measures on the ITN campus using discarded tires, project accomplishements include conduct of two seminars on the ITN campus and implementation of a Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Arizona and the Instituto Technológico de Nogales.



Slack, D.C., G. Garcia, R. Roth, S. Hoenig, R. Segovia, R. Soto, and A. Frayre. 2008. Engineered Conservation Structures Using Discarded Tires. In: 21st Century Watershed Technology: Improving Water Quality and Environment. Concepción, Chile.


Support for this project came from the USDA Forest Service