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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 12/6/2014.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2010.
  • The pro-rated deficit as of 12/6/2014 is 269,542 AF for this cycle, which is an increase from the 268,807 reported in the 11/29/2014 report.
  • During the first year of the cycle, Mexico delivered 288,309 AF, during the second year 100,401 AF, during the third year 392,142 AF, during the fourth year 310,444, and to date 79,436 AF for the fifth year.
  • The running total of deliveries for this 5-year cycle is 1,170,732 AF.
  • On December 6, 2014, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 46.68 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,583,317 acre-feet, up from 42.23 percent (1,432,525 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.
  • As of 12/6/14, the United States has 1,147,155 AF in Amistad and 436,162 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 564,254 AF in Amistad and 418,326 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1087.07 ft -29.93 with a release of 20.0 cms/706 cfs
  • Falcon Reservoir is currently at: 272.32 ft -28.88 with a release of 13.0 cms/459 cfs

Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 12/6/2014.

On December 6, 2014, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 46.68 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,583,317 acre-feet, up from 42.23 percent (1,432,525 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time. Overall the system is holding 43.33 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,565,897 acre-feet with Amistad at 52.25 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 1,711,409 acre-feet and Falcon at 32.28 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 854,488 acre-feet. Mexico has 38.83 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 982,581 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

Resolutions

Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters