Sens. Cruz, Cornyn Introduce Range of Measures to Boost Texas Water Supply and Secure Compliance By Mexico of Water Treaty
U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced several legislative measures to ensure that U.S. diplomats and officials of the U.S. Section of the International Boundary Commission have the backing and necessary resources to establish predictable and reliable water supplies, which are especially crucial to Texas farmers, including compliance by Mexico with the 1944 Treaty on Utilization of Waters of the Colorado, Tijuana, and Rio Grande Rivers. The first measure introduced by the Texas Senators is an amendment to the government funding resolution that would direct the Secretary of State to use the voice, vote, diplomatic capital, and resources of the United States to ensure Mexico’s compliance with the existing Treaty. In addition, the Senators also introduced two other measures, including a separate bill containing the same language as their amendment and a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that these resources must be utilized to secure Mexican compliance.
“Americans across the Southwest, and especially Texans and Texas farmers, are suffering from acute water shortages. This crisis is driven in part by non-compliance by Mexico with its obligations under the 1944 Treaty of Utilization of Waters. American diplomats and officials, including at the International Boundary and Water Commission, are working on these issues and engaged in ongoing negotiations, but to date they have not had only limited success. We are in the third year of our five year cycle, but the U.S. has only received about 39% of what Mexico is obligated to deliver. These measures begin to put the Senate on record and to mobilize the resources of the United States to address this crisis and secure Mexican compliance. I am proud to fight for farmers in Texas and beyond to make sure they are provided with the regular and predictable water supplies they need to survive and thrive,” said Sen. Cruz.
“South Texas farmers and producers have faced below-average rainfall and severe crop losses this year, and our border communities rely on consistent releases of water to the Amistad and Falcon Reservoirs to help fill that gap. I am committed to ensuring Mexico fulfills its obligations and promptly releases the water owed to our farmers and ranchers.” said Sen. Cornyn.
- Sen. Cruz recently completed a statewide ag tour, meeting with agricultural leaders in Harlingen, Amarillo, Lubbock, and the Coastal Bend area.
- One of the primary ways that the U.S. seeks to ensure predictable and reliable water is through the Treaty on Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande (“the Treaty”), signed between the U.S. and Mexico in 1944.
- The Treaty envisions and commits the parties to delivering a certain amount of water over five-year cycles, measured in annual averages: the U.S. must annually deliver a minimum of 1.5 million acre-feet of water and Mexico must deliver a minimum of 350,000 acre-feet of water, i.e. 1.75 million over the five-year cycle.
- The Treaty is administered by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC).
- Mexico routinely misses both the annual and five-year deadlines, preventing American farmers from access to predictable and reliable water. According to the U.S. Section of the IBWC, Mexico currently owes the U.S. nearly 600,000 acre-feet of water. It is year 3 of the 5 year cycle, and the U.S. has only received about 39% of the water delivery.
- U.S. diplomats and officials in the U.S. section of the IBWC have been pushing Mexico to fulfill its commitments and agree to rules that regularize deliveries. They have been unsuccessful thus far, while water shortages across the Southwest are becoming acute.
- The bill and amendment direct the Secretary of State to fully support the IBWC’s efforts and use voice, vote, diplomatic capital, and resources necessary to bring Mexico into compliance.
- The Senate Resolution expresses the position of the Senate that Mexico needs to comply with its treaty obligations under the 1944 Treaty, and for the need to engage in further diplomatic actions to ensure compliance in order to ensure reliable quantities of water are available for Texas farmers and ranchers.