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.
It wouldn’t be the first time. Treaty violations have been cropping up since a 1907 water treaty, amended in 1944 and 1948, which spawned a number of new water violation allegations. The water problems escalated with years of increased population and development and especially when parts of northern Mexico became an agriculturally-rich area for growing fruit and produce in the early 1990s.
"There is a concern that the construction of additional dams (in Mexico) would make it less likely that they will be releasing water in spite of the treaty," Shaw told the group.
Drusina said he had heard the dams under construction are for flood control and the water that will be trapped by the dams are obligated to water rights holders in Mexico.
So far, a group of South Texas Congressmen and officials from a coalition of local government and a number of irrigation districts have sent letters to officials in Mexico, the International Boundary Water Commission and the U.S. State Department asking for action. Late Monday, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn added his voice to encourage officials on both sides of the border to negotiate a water release settlement to avoid a worsening crisis in South Texas.
In his letter to IBWC officials, Cornyn cited a prior water debit issue with Mexico that happened during a ten-year period beginning in 1992. He said the debt at one time totaled some 1.5 million acre-feet of water that was not fully paid until September 2005. The incident was blamed for causing Texas farmers to lose hundreds of millions of dollars during the shortfall, Cornyn writes. He made reference to “sustained negotiations with Mexico” as necessary to bring a conclusion to that water dispute, a measure he is recommending now.
“As it stands now, many farmers have already been put on notice that they will receive only one irrigation this year unless something happens to relieve shrinking reservoirs, and our summer crops just can’t survive on one watering. At this rate, cities across the Valley run the risk of running out of water as well,” said Brad Cowan, an AgriLife Extension agent in Hidalgo County. “We’re running at critically low levels right now.”