The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is suffering the impacts of extreme drought from two sources: natural and manmade. There’s not much that can be done about a lack of rainfall, but when drought is exacerbated by political decisions, something CAN and SHOULD be done.
We are petitioning President Obama to ensure Mexico's compliance with the 1944 Water Treaty and resolve the water deficit now crippling the South Texas economy. Our goal is 100,000 signatures.
Please sign below and forward this link to your friends: www.TexansForTreatyCompliance.org
To: President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500
Re: Mexico’s failure to deliver water to the United States as required by 1944 Treaty and the devastating impacts to the economy and environment of South Texas
Dear President Obama,
The people, the economy, and the environment in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas are suffering the impacts of extreme drought from two sources: one natural, the other man-made. There’s not much we can do about the lack of rainfall, but when drought is exacerbated by Mexico’s failure to honor a treaty with the United States, something can and should be done.
Today, we call on you as President and on the U.S. State Department and the International Boundary and Water Commission to resolve this recurring water deficit issue with Mexico.
Under terms of its1944 treaty with the United States, Mexico is supposed to release water from its side of the Rio Grande into that waterway for use by the U.S. — specifically, a minimum average of 350,000 acre‐feet of water annually.
The same treaty also apportions waters in the Colorado River basin between western U.S. states and Mexico. While the U.S. has always — without fail — met its annual requirements in the Colorado, historically, and particularly in times of low rainfall, Mexico has repeatedly not lived up to its end of the deal on the Rio Grande. It has consistently failed to provide the minimum annual inflows into the Rio Grande required under the treaty. And although the treaty allows provides for flexibility in situations of extreme drought, those conditions have not affected the portion of Mexico that contributes water to the Rio Grande since May 2012.
Mexico has sufficient water in its northwestern reservoirs to meet its obligations, but continues to flout treaty provisions governing equitable water‐sharing in the Rio Grande basin. Our neighbor to the South now owes us more than 477,000 acre-feet of water.
The burden of this significant deficit falls primarily on irrigated agriculture. Several irrigation districts in the Valley have had to curtail delivery of water from the Rio Grande to their farmers, resulting in a severe impact to the economic pillar of the region.
Birding and eco-tourism are other economic drivers in the region that suffer under exacerbated drought. Many diverse and endangered species depend on the waters and habitat of the Rio Grande and the irrigation canal systems.
Even municipal deliveries are in danger. Most cities and towns in the Valley rely on the irrigation canals to move their water from the river to their treatment plants. Curtailing irrigation water means that cities no longer have the “push water” to bring their water supplies.
Ten years ago the Valley suffered through the same problem until the issue was resolved by tropical storms that filled up the reservoirs on the Rio Grande AND by meaningful intervention from the White House and the State Department. In 2002 alone, the Mexican water deficit cost Texans more than 3,000 jobs and $105 million in lost personal income.
South Texas cannot afford a repeat of that disaster. We cannot count on the weather to resolve the real need for Mexico to comply with the 1944 Treaty and to properly account for all of its water users, including the United States.
President Obama, please direct the State Department and the IBWC to:
(1) secure Mexico’s compliance with the intentions of the 1944 Treaty;
(2) resolve the mounting water deficit; and
(3) ensure that Mexico henceforth counts the U.S. as a primary water user when planning and executing its water deliveries to the Rio Grande.
At stake are the health, welfare, and economic stability of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.