Jonatan Godinez Madrigal

PhD candidate


Jonatan Godinez Madrigal graduated on 26 April 2022. Find the link to the thesis here.

Jonatan was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and he has always been interested in Mexico’s socio-environmental problems, and passionate to find new ways to address them. He first graduated from International Relations (2007), where he learned how the economy, culture, and politics have an effect on international conflict and cooperation. He then proceeded to study a Master in Social Sciences with specialization in Sustainable Development (2010). His thesis studied river-pollution wicked problems, where he analysed how the configuration of legal, technical and socio-political dynamics of actors maintained the polluted status quo in the Santiago River, Mexico.

For the next years, he embarked on a quest to actively change the state of the environmental problems of this region. First, he co-led a team of interdisciplinary researchers to understand the environmental problems of the Chapala basin, a region comprising several municipalities and the Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico. He proposed a route map based on territorial planning to ensure the sustainable development of the basin. Second, he and other colleagues launched the project Recuperacion de Rios, funded by the foundation Gonzalo Rio Arronte, to develop low-tech infrastructure to provide clean water for rural communities.

He is currently a PhD fellow in Water Management in IHE Delft and TU Delft, supervised by Nora van Cauwenbergh and Pieter van der Zaag (promotor).


Water allocation dilemma between two economic heartlands: the case study of Los Altos-Leon-Guadalajara interbasin water transfer.

Research Summary

The research, financed by CONACYT, the Mexican science and technology agency, studies how water knowledge for policy-making is hardly neutral, but is actually influenced by actors and the economic and socio-political context of a territory. The research analyses the development of hydrological models in a context of perceived water crises in the Lerma-Chapala-Santiago river basin, and how the results supported controversial policies. The objective of the research is to find innovative ways to open up black boxes within the hydrological models to support engaged public participation for better policy-making.


  • Ochoa-Garcia, H., Arrojo-Agudo, P., Godinez-Madrigal, J., Lopez-Villegas, P., Lopez-Aguayo, A., & Quiroz-Hernandez, M. L. (2014). Agua para el desarrollo regional en los Altos de Jalisco. Gestion del agua e impacto social del proyecto El Zapotillo.
  • Godinez Madrigal, J., Zaag, P. V. D., & Cauwenbergh, N. V. (2018). A half-baked solution: drivers of water crises in Mexico. Proceedings of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences376, 57-62.

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