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US and Mexico: Rio Grande water dispute



Elias Castillo sends an AP release about the Rio Grande water distribution problem. Here are the key points. " President Fox and the governors of Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas agree to work together to meet water requirements of the Mexican communities while simultaneously honoring the water treaty with the United States. The federal government promises to develop an updated system of rules for the equitable distribution of water to the Mexican communities bordering the Rio Grande and to modernize and redesign irrigation systems in the area. Through modernization investments in irrigation systems, volumes of water could be rescued and transferred back to the Rio Grande." I suspect that this is related to a Mexican request for a grant from the US.

The accord comes amid growing cries from Texas farmers that Mexico pay a growing water debt. Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico and the United States share water from the Rio Grande in Texas and the Colorado River in the western United States. Mexico began falling behind in releases of Rio Grande water downriver to the United States and U.S. officials claim that Mexico now owes about 1.5 million acre-feet of water. Each acre-foot is enough to cover one acre of land with one foot of water, an amount equivalent to 326,000 gallons. However, a recent study by Texas A & M University reported that Chihuahua farms have expanded even as Mexico reneged on its water payments. Texas farmers say the water shortage has cost them an estimated $1 billion so far".

Perhaps Dick Hancock and others acquainted with the problem will have some comment.

Ronald Hilton - 6/13/02


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