Water Treaty of 1944 Dries Up

By |2018-11-02T08:38:19+00:00April 22nd, 2015|Tags: , , , |

If you live in East Texas, you’re probably not having a water shortage problem with all the recent storms we’ve been having. However, if you live or work in the Rio Grande Valley, you may still be asking “where has all the water gone?” But, Mother Nature is not the only culprit.

If you live in East Texas, you’re probably not having a water shortage problem with all the recent storms we’ve been having. However, if you live or work in the Rio Grande Valley, you may still be asking “where has all the water gone?” But, Mother Nature is not the only culprit.

Mexico has consistently failed to live up to a 1944 treaty to deliver adequate water to the Rio Grande causing undue hardship for Texans in the Rio Grande Valley. The treaty requires the U.S. to give Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet per year through the Colorado River. And in turn, Mexico is supposed to deliver a minimum of 350,000 acre feet per year through the Rio Grande River. However, Mexico has only delivered about 78% of their requirement, creating a deficit of over 300,000 acre feet over a multi-year period. To put that in perspective, Lake Houston has a capacity of 160,000 acre feet.

This water shortage can cause severe impacts on the economy of the Rio Grande Valley through reduction in crop yields and by causing local municipalities to actually run out of water and have to purchase water from other sources. 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.

On the contrary, the U.S. has never failed to meet the requirements of the treaty to deliver 1.5 million acre-feet to Mexico through the Colorado River. What will fix this water shortfall? The federal government, specifically the International Boundary and Water Commission, in conjunction with the U.S. State Department could fix it. Since 2005, they have not engaged in discussions aggressive enough to solve the issue. Until the federal government puts its foot down, it’s anticipated that Mexico will continue to disregard the treaty and harm Texas’ water supply.

For more on this topic, check out this article.

Recent Posts

About the author

Kate Lindekugel
Kate Lindekugel
As an environmental scientist, Kate has more than 13 years of experience including ecological surveys and field studies, functional assessments, preparing environmental reports and permits, data management, stream channel and wetland restoration, peer reviewed research, and coordinating with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies, as well as public and private stakeholders.

Leave A Comment