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