James O. Leckie Environmental Engineering and Science Program, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-4020, USA Nearly 10 years have passed since the beginning of the systematic studies of the Lerma-Chapala Basin coordinated by the Instituto Mexicano de Tecnologia del Agua. Although many public and private institutions, universities and research centers have conducted studies on the Lerma- Chapala Basin over the last two decades, the need for a comprehensive summary of the findings of those studies has become increasingly obvious and important for this critical water resource. The Lerma-Chapala Basin is located in the central part of Mexico, and partly occupies five states. The watershed comprises the Lerma river and Lake Chapala. With a length of over 700 km, the tributary watershed covers 2 approximately 54,000 km . The basin accounts for more than one-third of the country's economic activity, one-fifth of all commerce and one-eighth of the nation's agricultural land. The watershed receives 3% of the country's total rainfall, less than 1 % of the runoff, and accounts for 13% of the total groundwater.