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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 9/3/2016.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2015. As of the date of this report, Mexico has delivered 146,597 AF.
  • The pro-rated deficit as of 9/3/2016 is 154,633 AF which is a decrease of 3,013 AF from the 157,646 AF reported in the 8/27/2016 report.
  • On September 3, 2016, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 58.92 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,998,400 acre-feet, up from 54.38 percent (1,844,365 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.
  • The Mexican Reservoirs report shows, as a whole, a total of 78.33 percent average capacity. Pico Del Aguila is at 101.432 percent of normal capacity with 3.780 cms/133 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido. F.I. Madero is at 100.394 percent of normal capacity with 22.000 cms/777 cfs discharge to the Rio San Pedro. Luis L. Leon is at 102.786 percent of normal capacity with 39.671 cms/1,401 cfs discharge to the Rio Conchos. La Fragua is at 100.000 percent of normal capacity with 0.000 cms/0 cfs discharge to the Rio San Rodrigo.
  • As of 9/3/16 the United States has 1,477,114 AF in Amistad and 521,287 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 661,539 AF in Amistad and 218,081 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1096.65 ft -20.35 with a release of 20.0 cms/706 cfs
  • The Falcon Reservoir is currently at: 269.00 ft -32.20 with a release of 35.0 cms/1,236 cfs

Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 9/17/2016.

On September 17, 2016, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 59.35 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,012,993 acre-feet, up from 54.04 percent (1,833,015 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.  Overall the system is holding 49.68 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,942,067 acre-feet with Amistad at 66.95 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 2,192,971 acre-feet and Falcon at 28.30 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 749,096 acre-feet.  Mexico has 36.72 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 929,074 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

Resolutions

Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters