Museo del Agua “Agua para Siempre”, Tehuacan, México

Museo del Agua “Agua para Siempre”, Tehuacan Valley, Mexico

The Water Forever Museum (1999) is a certified High-Quality Environment Education Center that recovers and demonstrates the processes of social organization and technologies developed along the history of Mesoamerican indigenous peoples to obtain clean water -both for human consumption and agricultural irrigation for food production- through sound natural resources management to stimulate the creation of sustainable and innovative responses to enable livelihoods of present and future generations in regenerated environments.

Expanding over 20 hectares located in the World Biosphere Reserve Tehuacan-Cuicatlan in southern Mexico, where was found the cradle of Middle American Agriculture and Irrigation. Its privileged location allows visitors to clearly understand watershed dynamics.

Also, presents the historical key-food production and culinary preparation to get the healthy and balanced nutrition that allowed ancient people to reach high levels of civilization, being the proven solution for today’s epidemics of under-nutrition and mal-nutrition that causes obesity and related illness.

The Water Hall: shows how watershed regeneration is the solution to water scarcity and contamination, and the best way to preserve and enrich biodiversity.

The Food heritage Hall presents the food history, as created by indigenous people during 8,500 years of careful domestication. Visitors will enjoy delicious traditional food.

Technologies Trail: presents full-size operating technologies for soil, vegetation and water conservation to infiltrate rainwater to replenish aquifers. Appropriate technologies are combined to solve water problems in a diversity of ecological environments. An interesting walk can be done inside ancient seeping galleries and along centennial canals. Bio-digesters show how to avoid contamination while providing irrigation to local trees of the semiarid forest.

Agricultural terraces show the admirable poly-cultivation named “milpa”, with a 90% of water savings. Rainwater harvesting capture and storage systems are seen as a “Mexican Water Sombrero”.

The Carbon-Cycle trail shows how organic waste is composted and converted in enriched organic fertilizers to grow healthy food.

Museum website:


Itinerary 1: Restored watershed

There are several one-day scheduled visits to villages that have worked in restoring their watersheds. The positive effect of different applied technologies to prevent erosion, and infiltrate rainwater. New springs have created permanent ravines, the vegetation and wildlife have flourished. Campesino families will share how they have organized to build structures over the years. A professional guide will explain technical, economic and other aspects. Extraordinary landscapes from most diverse cacti forests, and ancient water control structures.

Itinerary 2: The marvelous ancient “milpa”

During the agricultural season April to November, one-day scheduled visits to campesino families´ productive parcels are organized. You can see the wise poly-cultivation indigenous system named “milpa,” which combine the triad of maize, corn, and amaranth which provide all essential amino acids needed to synthesize the human protein. Together with pumpkin, chile, avocado and other healthy plants, constitute the hearth of the rich Mexican gastronomy, recognized by UNESCO as World Intangible Cultural Heritage. Several water-harvesting and irrigation devices are in place.

Itinerary 3: The Ancient Purron Complex – Dam and canals (1,000 B.C.)

A unique and exciting discovery expedition to the first massive water structure in Mesoamerica. The complex is integrated by series of aligned big stones to form water divides capable of facing the force of the violent rainwater runoff down the mountains, and convert it into calm water flowing inside a perfectly designed network of canals. The system allowed ancient agriculturist to decide to send water to supply agricultural terraces, increase the dam basin reserve or replenish small ponds along the course. Petrified canals (“tecuates”) and seeping galleries (qanats) can be visited.


Main Joint Projects

1) Water Forever Program and Quali Cooperative Group.

Our regional development program in Tehuacan (1980) discovered water scarcity as the axis problem around which connect with many other challenges, such as food production and income generation.

We adopted a participatory research- action methodology that led to the Water Forever Program to solve the water problem, inspired by the history of water technology and social organization;

We followed the same educational approach regarding the food production challenge to have a nutritious and balanced diet, which led to amaranth recovery and the organization of the Quali Cooperative Group.

2) The Water Forever Museum was designed to explain both ancient and renewed sustainable techniques and methodologies with positive results achieved, pursuing the goal of motivating the people to change isolated and passive attitudes, and turn them into active and organized cooperative way to solve their present and future water and food problems. Therefore it is at the same time a window to show the past rescued into the present, and a fruitful departure point into the future. It is pursued by motivating people so they may decide to change their reality, and provide them support to select and build the best solution for environment and society in both water and food solving related projects.

While acting towards the solution of real peoples’ needs, we developed a master methodological framework which links all new 17 SDG which have tangible results on each one of them.

Expression of interest:

We would like to share this approach of using educational methodologies oriented to motivating and organizing people towards a cooperative and permanent action, aimed to solve their shared essential needs. The above-expressed focus makes the Water Forever Museum a unique model and inspiring model and to promote the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.