Mexico still owes the U.S. water and lots of it, according to officials.
As of July 26, Mexico has failed to deliver to the U.S. at least 361,000 acres feet of water, which puts the country more than a year behind in overall volume to remain on pace to comply with the 1944 Water Treaty between both nations.
Water Treaty for the “Utilization of Waters of Signing of 1944 Treatythe Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande” distributed the waters in the international segment of the Rio Grande from Fort Quitman, Texas to the Gulf of Mexico. This treaty also authorized the two countries to construct operate and maintain dams on the main channel of the Rio Grande. The 1944 treaty also changed the name of the IBC to the International Boundary And Water Commission (IBWC), and in Article 3 the two governments entrusted the IBWC to give preferential attention to the solution of all border sanitation problems.
According to that treaty, Mexico is required to share an average of 350,000 acre feet of water annually over five-year cycles.
“The amount of water they owe us is more water than all of the Texas cities from Amistad and the Gulf of Mexico use in a year for their municipal and industrial purposes,” said Carlos Rubinstein, chairman of the Texas Water Development Board. “That’s more water that they owe us than what we would use.”
Under the 1944 treaty, Mexico is to deliver water to the U.S. in cycles of five years. The current five-year cycle began in October 2010 and ends in October 2015, which means Mexico has until that time to deliver the water it owes, officials said.
October marks start of the last year of the current five-year delivery cycle.
The total volume Mexico must deliver before the end of the five-year period is 1.75 million acre-feet — providing there are no exceptional-drought conditions in Mexico, officials said.
Although Mexico had been delivering some water earlier this year, the deliveries have started to taper and the amount they are providing does not comply with the treaty obligations.