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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.

Rio Grande Watermaster Reports

Reservoir Levels

This report is for the week ending 9/30/2017.

  • The current cycle began on October 25, 2015. As of the date of this report, Mexico has delivered 644,281 AF.
  • The first year of the cycle ended on October 24, 2016. The preliminary delivery amount for the first year is 216,562 which results in a deficit of 133,439 AF.
  • Second year deliveries through 9/16/2017 equal 427,719 AF.
  • The cumulative pro-rated deficit as of 9/30/2017 is 32,705 AF which is a decrease of 71,702 AF from the 104,407 AF reported in the 09/23/2017 report.
  • On September 30, 2017, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 58.65 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,989,482 acre-feet, down from 60.90 percent (2,065,689 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time.
  • The Mexican Reservoirs report shows, as a whole, a total of 82.656 percent average capacity. F.I. Madero is at 100.000 percent of normal capacity with 0.000 cms / 0 cfs discharge to the Rio San Pedro, Luis L. Leon is at 101.653 percent of normal capacity with 29.623 cms/1,046 cfs discharge to the Rio Conchos, La Fragua is at 101.937 percent of normal capacity with 22.620 cms/799 cfs discharge to the Rio San Rodrigo, San Gabriel is at 104.012 percent of normal capacity with 14.170 cms/500 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido and Pico Del Aguila is at 103.268 percent of normal capacity with 13.100 cms/463 cfs discharge to the Rio Florido.
  • As of 9/30/17: the United States has 1,344,157 AF in Amistad and 645,325 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 490,480 AF in Amistad and 326,716 AF in Falcon.
  • Mexico has 440,216 AF in Amistad and 111,067 AF in Falcon.
  • The Amistad Reservoir is currently at: 1089.89 ft -27.11 with a release of 20.0 cms/706 cfs
  • The Falcon Reservoir is currently at: 274.69 ft -26.51 with a release of 10.0 cms/353 cfs

Ownership of Water – Amistad/Falcon

Report dated 10/7/2017.

On October 7, 2017, the U.S. combined ownership at Amistad/Falcon stood at 62.38 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 2,115,953 acre-feet, up from 61.12 percent (2,072,985 AF) of normal conservation a year ago at this time. Overall the system is holding 52.89 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 3,132,583 acre-feet with Amistad at 57.05 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 1,868,687 acre-feet and Falcon at 47.75 percent of conservation capacity, impounding 1,263,897 acre-feet. Mexico has 40.18 percent of normal conservation capacity, impounding 1,016,630 acre-feet at Amistad/Falcon.

Resolutions

Letters Pertaining to Mexican Water Deficit

IBWC's Minute 309 and Letters