News Column

Water Negotiations With Mexico Get Critical

March 28, 2013

Allen Essex

The U.S. State Department is negotiating with Mexico on nearly a daily basis about water owed under the 1944 Guadalupe Water Treaty, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela told local officials Wednesday.

The issue is a high priority, particularly at a time when many irrigation districts are reporting a lack of water for spring planting, and some Rio Grande Valley cities are going on water restrictions for homes and businesses, members of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council said in a meeting Wednesday.

Humberto Garza, district director for Vela's Hidalgo County office, told city and county representatives that the congressman's office collected copies of 19 resolutions from local governments, as well as the Rio Grande Valley Water Authority, stating that water owed by Mexico to Texas is desperately needed.

"We are dealing with our water issue," Garza said. "We want them to abide by the 1944 treaty. We have 19 resolutions and have forwarded them on to Washington."

"We have made a strong case to the State Department," Garza said. "There have been communications with Mexico and they are willing to negotiate with us.

"The effort now is to have the State Department carry the ball and give officials in Mexico this message."

Mexico is lagging behind in its delivery of water to the United States under the 1944 treaty, federal officials have said.

But even though there is a drought that has triggered emergency water restrictions in some areas of South Texas, Mexico has another 2 1/2 years under the treaty to catch up with its required releases of water, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission has said.

Source: (c)2013 Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, Texas) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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