In recent years, Mexico and the United States have clashed over water
shortages on either side of the Rio Grande River in South Texas. Mexico's
failure to abide by a 1944 water treaty since 1992 has severely damaged
U.S. agriculture. While Mexico seems largely unrepentant and unwilling to
release water to the U.S., U.S. officials have been accused of ignoring the
issue in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
While steps are being made to address the issue, including water
conservation and the release of some water owed to the U.S., much remains
to be done to solve the shortage. Changes to international law involving
the use of shared water resources may provide some long-term relief while
the creation of more water conservation measures will likely help alleviate
the shortage in the short-term.
For Mexican farmers in Chihuahua State, water from the Rio Grande is
necessary to maintain and grow an agricultural business that has expanded
considerably in the past several decades. At one time, land in Chihuahua
State was arid and desert-like, but the building of joint border reservoirs
brought the potential for irrigation. In response, families and
agricultural companies have
In Mexico, farmers in Chihuahua State have put pressure on theirgovernment to ensure future water supplies for the region (Hawkes; Mexico-U. officials to address the water treatyshortfall with the Mexican government and other issues involving the RioGrande river water supply" (Hawkes; Mexico-U. Secondly, water conservation measures should begin immediately bothin Mexico and on the Texas side of the Rio Grande. have accused the Bush administration of ignoring theRio Grande water issue in favor of issues involving the North American FreeTrade Agreement (NAFTA). As ofJuly 2002, 40 million had been earmarked to Mexico from the NADBank(Jacobsen). In July of 2003, Mexico agreed to sendsix percent (90,000 acre-feet) of the water it owes the U. Several management factors that could be used to alleviate theshortage. However, a report from the InternationalBoundary and Water Commission (IBWC), notes that the reservoirs along theRio Conchos had 98 percent more water in storage in July 2, 2002 than ithad the previous year. -Mexico water dispute, such sanctions mayhave motivated Mexico to uphold the 1944 treaty. In the yearsfrom 2002-2006, the U. farmers on the American side of the Rio Grandehave been strongly impacted, with many losing their businesses, andagriculture as a whole being severely damaged by the water shortage.