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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.

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Rio Grande Watermaster Reports

Reservoir Levels

This report is for the week ending 5/9/2020.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2015. As of the date of this report, Mexico has delivered 1,290,763 AF.
  • The first year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2016. The preliminary delivery amount for the first year was 219,077.
  • The second year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2017. The preliminary delivery amount was 567,238 AF.
  • The third year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2018. The preliminary delivery amount was 235,097.
  • The fourth year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2019. The preliminary delivery amount was 218,091.
  • Fifth year deliveries through 5/9/2020 equal 51,260 AF.
  • As of 5/9/2020, Mexico has a pro-rated cycle deficit of 298,581 AF under the minimum expected delivery. For the current year, Mexico has a pro-rated one-year deficit of 137,644 AF under the minimum expected delivery.
  • On May 9, 2020, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 45.91% of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,557,374 acre-feet, down from 63.51% (2,154,056 AF) of normal conservation a year ago.
  • The Mexican Reservoirs report shows a total of 53% average capacity. All Mexican Reservoirs are under 100% capacity.
  • As of 5/9/2020, the United States has 1,152,019 AF in Amistad and 405,355 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 58,371 AF in Amistad and 43,778 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1,072.67 ft -44.33 with a U.S. release of 101.00 cms/3,567 cfs
  • Falcon Reservoir is currently at: 260.04 ft -41.16 with a U.S. release of 102.00 cms/3,602 cfs

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Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 5/16/2020.

On May 16, 2020, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 45.15% of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,531,431 acre-feet, down from 63.20% (2,143,517 AF) of normal conservation a year ago. Overall the system is holding 27.75% of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,643,309 acre-feet with Amistad at 36.09% of conservation capacity, impounding 1,182,015 acre-feet and Falcon at 17.43% of conservation capacity, impounding 461,294 acre-feet. Mexico has 4.42% of normal conservation capacity, impounding 111,878 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

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Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters

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