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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 11/5/2016.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2015. As of the date of this report, Mexico has delivered 226,284 AF.
  • The first year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2016. The preliminary delivery amount for the first year is 216,562 which results in a deficit of 133,439 AF.
  • Second year deliveries through 11/5/2016 equal 9,722 AF.
  • The cumulative pro-rated deficit as of 11/5/2016 is 135,191 AF which is an increase of 759 AF from the 134,432 AF reported in the 10/29/2016 report.
  • On November 5, 2016, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 61.02 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,069,743 acre-feet, up from 57.22 percent (1,940,840 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.
  • The Mexican Reservoirs report shows, as a whole, a total of 86.058 percent average capacity. San Gabriel is at 101.817 percent of normal capacity with 4.500 cms/194 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido.
  • As of 11/5/16 the United States has 1,532,242 AF in Amistad and 537,501 AF in Falcon
  • Mexico has 758,825 AF in Amistad and 272,399 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1099.77 ft -17.23 with a release of 20.0 cms/706 cfs
  • The Falcon Reservoir is currently at: 270.85 ft -30.35 with a release of 15.0 cms/530 cfs

Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 11/26/2016.

On November 26, 2016, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 61.95 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,101,360 acre-feet, up from 58.32 percent (1,978,132 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time. Overall the system is holding 53.41 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 3,163,390 acre-feet with Amistad at 70.44 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 2,307,281 acre-feet and Falcon at 32.34 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 856,110 acre-feet. Mexico has 41.97 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,062,030 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

Resolutions

Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters