Agreement Secures Water Deliveries From Mexico To Texas Communities Along The Rio Grande

The Rio Grande River at Laredo, Texas. (Matt Pierce/Getty Images)

Austin, Texas—Governor Greg Abbott announced today that Mexico will fulfill its obligations to Texas under the Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande (1944 Water Treaty), which was signed February 3, 1944. The 1944 Water Treaty obligates Mexico to deliver to United States 1,750,000 acre-feet (AF) of water over a five-year cycle. The current cycle began on October 25, 2015 and will end on October 24, 2020. Water deliveries under the 1944 Water Treaty are vital for irrigating crops, supplying water to municipalities, and conducting mining and industrial operations along the Rio Grande in Texas. Earlier this year, Governor Abbott sent a letter urging U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to ensure enforcement of these treaty obligations.

Representatives from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the United States International Boundary Water Commission have been working with Mexican officials for the past several months as the Treaty cycle draws to a close. Today, officials signed an agreement — referred to as a Minute under the 1944 Treaty — for Mexico to meet its Treaty obligations before the end of the cycle by transferring Mexican water to the United States at Amistad and Falcon International Reservoirs. Under the terms of the Minute, Mexico will transfer to the United States an amount of Mexican water stored in Amistad and Flacon International Reservoirs necessary to meet 1944 Water Treaty obligations.

“This agreement helps ensure that water obligations will be met before the end of this cycle, providing a much-needed resource to communities in the region,” said Governor Abbott. “This water is essential for Texans along the Rio Grande to grow crops, provide food, and support local municipalities and businesses. Thank you to TCEQ and Secretary Pompeo for working diligently with Mexican officials to secure this agreement and fulfill the terms of the treaty.”

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“Fulfilling the current 5-year cycle without a deficit is imperative for U.S. water users along the Rio Grande. I am pleased that we were able to come to an agreement that enables Texans to receive the water they are guaranteed under the terms of the treaty. This would not have been accomplished without the support and leadership Governor Abbott provided in resolving this critical issue for Texans along the Rio Grande,” said TCEQ Commissioner Emily Lindley.