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Texas Relies on 1944 Treaty Water

As the manager of state (surface) waters, TCEQ understands the importance of Treaty waters to Texas water right holders.

Important information Gov. Abbott Announces Mexico Fulfillment of Water Delivery Obligations Under 1944 Treaty

Important information Oct. 21, 2020, Meeting Minutes of the International Boundary and Water Commission

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The Mexican waters of the international Rio Grande Basin are vital to ensuring that Texas water right holders can irrigate crops, supply water to municipalities, and conduct industrial operations along the Rio Grande. Under the 1944 Treaty , Mexico has an obligation to deliver to the United States 1,750,000 acre-feet (AF) of water over a five-year cycle, at an average of 350,000 AF annually for the five-year cycle. The United States International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), oversees the 1944 Water Treaty for the United States as well as helps settle differences that may arise.

The United States continues to meet their annual obligation of 1.5 million AF from the Colorado River. Thus, it is imperative that Mexico consistently meets their Treaty obligations each year, as well as every cycle, because Texas relies on this water source. Without the required Treaty waters, Texas must decrease allocations of water from the international reservoirs (Amistad and Falcon ), to Texas water right holders along the Rio Grande. Allocations are made by the Rio Grande Watermaster Program, which is part of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Lack of water along the Rio Grande river negatively impacts many different stakeholders. Without the Treaty deliveries, Texas water users are forced to secure alternate sources of water, change crops, and reduce operations. As the manager of state (surface) waters, TCEQ understands the importance of Treaty waters to Texas water right holders. More information regarding the Treaty and TCEQ’s position on the Treaty can be found on this webpage.

The graph of Estimated Deliveries on the United States International Boundary and Water Commission’s webpage shows the volume of water Mexico has delivered during the current 5-year cycle.

Mexico has had multiple years where they have not met their Treaty requirements. The history of Treaty deliveries can be seen on the graph provided by United States International Boundary and Water Commission.

Current estimated ownership can be seen on a weekly basis through the Reservoir Storage Report .

The Rio Grande is a shared resource between the United States and Mexico. As shown in the letters below, both Texas and United States leaders recognize the importance of Mexico meeting their Treaty obligations each cycle, as well as Mexico helping preserve and manage the river properly.
*Please note that letters shown below are not all inclusive.

    The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, as well as other agencies, is involved in the management and/or research along the Rio Grande River. Potential resources can be seen below.