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Water Shortage Issue Related to the Mexican Water Deficit

Documents and information pertaining to the TCEQ's position on Rio Grande water distribution between the United States and Mexico.

Issue

The failure of Mexico to consistently deliver water in accordance with the 1944 water treaty between the United States and Mexico significantly harms Texas interests.

The treaty requires delivery from certain tributaries in Mexico to the United States of not less than a minimum annual average of 350,000 acre feet, in cycles of five consecutive years. Mexico’s failure to deliver the amount of water owed results in undue hardship for Texas' water users who rely on that water for irrigation, as well as municipalities that need the irrigation water to convey public drinking water supplies. In fact, a 2013 study by Texas A&M AgriLife concluded that a loss of irrigation water in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas endangers approximately 4,840 jobs per year and reduces output in the valley by an estimated $395 million.

Despite countless meetings between U.S., Texas, and Mexico water officials, Mexico has yet to provide a concrete proposal and further productive and earnest discussions and commitment to honor the Treaty and deliver the minimum annual amount of water. To resolve this issue, Mexico must recognize their obligation to the United States under the 1944 Treaty, set aside water for Treaty compliance, and deliver water on a schedule that benefits all users within the Rio Grande Basin. The United States has never failed to meets its obligation on the Colorado to deliver 1.5 million acre-feet to Mexico under the same Treaty. Texas is simply requesting that Mexico treat its obligation to the Rio Grande in the same manner.

The International Boundary and Water Commission, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department, has the responsibility to enforce the treaty, but has not been successful. The U.S. Department of State has not engaged in the discussions in a manner similar to that required in 2005 to solve the then established debt. Until the federal government engages in a more serious manner, it is expected that Mexico will continue to disregard the Treaty in spite of the fact that the United States has implemented actions to the benefit of Mexico on numerous occasions.

Rio Grande Watermaster Reports

Reservoir Levels

This report is for the week ending 10/21/2017.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2015. As of the date of this report, Mexico has delivered 776,114 AF.
  • The first year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2016. The preliminary delivery amount for the 1st year was 219,101 AF which resulted in a deficit of 130,899 AF.
  • Second year deliveries through 10/14/2017 equal 557,013 AF.
  • As of 10/21/2017, Mexico has delivered 78,991 AF over the minimum expected delivery.
  • On October 21, 2017, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 63.94 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,168,649 acre-feet, up from 61.04 percent (2,070,553 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.
  • The Mexican Reservoirs report shows, as a whole, a total of 83.807 percent average capacity. La Fragua is at 100.529 percent of normal capacity with 3.220 cms/114 cfs discharge to the Rio San Rodrigo, San Gabriel is at 102.256 percent of normal capacity with 6.000 cms/212 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido and Pico Del Aguila is at 101.841 percent of normal capacity with 5.520 cms/195 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido.
  • As of 10/21/17: the United States has 1,371,721 AF in Amistad and 796,928 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 539,122 AF in Amistad and 561,822 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1091.66 ft -25.33 with a release of 20.0 cms/706 cfs
  • 282.50 ft -18.70 with a release of 20.0 cms /706 cfs

Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 11/11/2017.

On November 11, 2017, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 64.25 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,179,188 acre-feet, up from 61.59 percent (2,089,200 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time. Overall the system is holding 56.26 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 3,332,018 acre-feet with Amistad at 59.28 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 1,941,650 acre-feet and Falcon at 52.53 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 1,390,368 acre-feet. Mexico has 45.56 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,152,830 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

Resolutions

Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters