What is in this article?:
- The Rio Grande Valley’s water problem is not solely a lack of rainfall because of drought, and has now grown to become an international issue.
Shortage will be felt
"At this point, we can say there will be irrigation districts that are going to run out of water this year," TCEQ Chairman Shaw told the group. “Municipalities will fall short of having enough water as will industry, including agriculture.”
But International Boundary and Water Commissioner Edward Drusina said he remains “guardedly optimistic” that Mexico may yet release water from reservoirs in an effort to meet their five year cycle water release obligation. State and Valley leaders have complained that Mexico is behind in releasing millions of gallons of water collected on the Rio Conchos River basin in Northern Mexico.
According to a 65-year old water treaty between the two countries, Mexico must release water from the Rio Conchos in exchange for water released from the Pecos River basin by the U.S., but the plan calls for releases that run in five year cycles, meaning Mexico actually has until October of 2015 before releasing their entire water obligation.
But Raymondville Water Treatment Supervisor Javier Rodriguez says the U.S.-Mexico treaty calls for a minimum 350,000 acre-feet release of water each year of the five year cycle, and says the water crisis has reached a stage that those water releases need to happen sooner rather than later.
The City of Raymondville enacted a stage-three emergency water plan early last month and issued strict rules on water use by local residents and businesses.
Drusina says the Valley needs a short-term fix on its immediate water needs, especially since it is traditional planting time for Valley agriculture. Most Valley farmers are delaying planting decisions until they can determine if there will be enough water for irrigation this year to sustain a crop.
Mexico owes the U.S. more than a years worth of water so far.
Fueling concerns of water stakeholders in Texas are reports that Mexico is building additional dams across the border designed to catch more water from the Rio Conchos watershed. Some are openly concerned that perhaps Mexico plans on continuing to deny the U.S the water they owe according to the treaty.