In his article “The price Texas pays for Mexico’s water debt” recently published in the Texas Water Journal, the chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, Carlos Rubenstein, calls for active participation by the U.S. State Department, White House and Texas officials to have Mexico live up to its obligations under a 1944 Treaty between the United States and Mexico. The article is an excellent source for a concise history of the 1944 treaty and projects and summarizes the economic hardship suffered in the Rio Grande Valley when there are inadequate water supplies. It is less successful in identifying the water resource management problems facing the parties.
While Mexico may indeed have a “water debt problem”, it is not the one identified in the article. Texas’s interpretation of the 1944 treaty is not correct. The real challenge is how can the parties work together to create reliable water supplies in the face of highly variable hydrologic conditions. Continue reading
The Voice of San Diego ran a story today about the Cadiz Project that provides a “teachable moment” about the complexity of California water. Would the Cadiz project benefit from failure of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (“BDCP”)? The Voice says yes. Professionals know that water is complex and the impact of a Bay Delta failure is no exception. The big winner would be bi-national water projects, not Cadiz. Continue reading
Last November, CILA Commissioner Roberto Salmon and IBWC Commissioner Edward Drusina signed Minute 319 of the 1944 US-Mexico Treaty. Reflecting over a decade of consultations, Minute 319 addresses interim international joint cooperative measures that improve water management in the Colorado River Basin (for copy of minute and press release, go to Water Strategist Community at www.waterchat.com and search site for “Minute 319”). In this post, I discuss how the minute’s sections on international projects and water exchanges related to the 2010 Earthquake in the Mexicali Valley, Intentionally Created Mexican Allocation (“ICMA”) and water for the environment pilot program set the pathway for long-term Mexico-US cooperation in bi-national water projects. Continue reading