A Transdisciplinary Approach to Water Access: An Exploratory Case Study in Indigenous Communities in Chiapas, Mexico

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In this article, we address the water challenges faced by Indigenous communities (ICs) in the context of Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6). The importance of ICs for sustainable regional development is increasingly recognised both, at a policy level and in practice. However, there is a reported lack of empirical evidence that gives voice to how such communities perceive development,
particularly sustainable water development as articulated in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (2015–2030). This article provides case-based evidence from one Indigenous community setting, which challenges assumptions concerning water-related development. Using a qualitative methodology, this case study explores the problem of access to safe water faced by ICs and applies a value cocreation framework based on service-dominant logic. The findings highlight the need to develop sustainable water service models focused on the provision of water not just as a commodity or resource but also as a service. Initiatives aimed at addressing water-related challenges will be more likely to succeed when the culture, experiences, knowledge and practices of the communities in need of clean water access are valued and meaningfully incorporated into value cocreation processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1811
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number13
Early online date30 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished online - 30 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) UK Research and Innovation/Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) under Grant number EP/P032427/1.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Indigenous communities
  • water access
  • Transdisciplinary
  • value co-creation
  • sustainable development


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