Is a war over water between Mexico and the US looming? For this reason the conflict could escalate

The dispute between Mexico and the United States over water is coming to a head as shortages and drought worsen in Texas communities. This conflict, which dates back decades, has gained more strength after congressmen threatened to withhold federal funds from other binational agreements if our country does not comply with a treaty signed 80 years ago.

Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of Texas legislators demanded that the U.S. House and Senate withhold funds from Mexico until it complies with its promises in the treaty signed in 1944, which requires our country to equitably share water. of the Rio Grande and cooperate in the management of its flow.

According to this agreement, Mexico must send 1.75 million acre-feet to the United States every five years (The acre-foot is a unit of volume equivalent to approximately 1,233 cubic meters). However, U.S. lawmakers argue that Mexico's deliveries have been inconsistent and have intensified water shortages affecting farmers in South Texas.

In this sense, the International Boundary and Water Commission establishes that Mexico has until October 2024 to comply with the shipment of the resource, when there are still more than 700 thousand acre-feet left to deliver.

Texas water crisis impacts industries

in your column watershed titled Is Mexico drying up McAllen?the columnist of The financial, Jonathan Ruiz Torreaddresses this issue and warns that the problem already affects agricultural activity in the region and even urban growth.

“Near Sonora, in Arizona, developers no longer obtain permits to build new houses. In June of last year, authorities banned them in areas surrounding Phoenix.” highlights Ruiz Torre, who adds that construction companies are already proposing “desperate measures” such as bringing seawater from the Gulf of California to later desalinate it.

Likewise, he indicated that two months ago, “the last sugar mill in Texas closed, eliminating 500 jobs and 100 million dollars in annual income for the economy of Santa Rosa, near McAllen.” Besides, agricultural activity in that area “has practically disappeared” and farmers now live on government support.

The columnist also warned that the Falcón damlocated between Ciudad Guerrero, Tamaulipas and Starr County, Texas, dries every dayso limiting the water supply for human consumption is already being considered.

“The problem increasingly points to Mexico as a solution for Americans, who are not used to limiting any type of consumption,” says Ruiz Torre.

What is the Mexican Water Treaty of 1944?

Mexico and the United States have signed two diplomatic agreements to distribute water from three transboundary rivers: Bravo/Grande, Colorado and Tijuana.

The first agreement was Water Treaty for the Juárez Valley of 1906, where an annual volume of 74 million cubic meters of the Río Bravo was assigned to Mexico.

Subsequently, with the signing of the International Water Treaty of 1944, in the Bravo basin, it was agreed that Mexico must deliver annually a volume of 432 cubic meters, while in the Colorado basin, the United States delivers to Mexico a volume of 1,890 cubic meters per year.

This last pact stipulates that the United States will fulfill its water delivery every year, while Mexico will be able to do so in five-year periods.