Four South Texas congressmen are requesting Mexico release water it has stored south of the border to help ease ongoing drought conditions in Texas.
The federal lawmakers say the water is owed to the United States under the 1944 Guadalupe Treaty with Mexico.
The congressmen said they have been contacted by several leaders of border communities that report the communities are running out of water due to drought conditions and lack of inflow from the Rio Grande.
Congressmen Filemon Vela, D-Brownsville; Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo; Ruben Hinojosa, D-Mercedes, and Pete Gallegos, D-Alpine, have written a letter to Eduardo Medina Mora, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, and Edward Drusina, commissioner of the International Boundary and Water Commission, asking them to intervene and get Mexico to pay up its water debt.
The letters to Medina Mora and Drusina dated Feb. 14 state, “To date, they (Mexico) are significantly behind in their water payments and we understand that they are constructing several new water reservoirs in Chihuahua that will further restrict water flows to the river.”
The letters refer to the 1944 Guadalupe Water Treaty that indicates Mexico is obligated to provide water to the United States.
“These water deliveries are critical to farmers and communities throughout the Rio Grande Valley,” Vela said. “My hope is that we can get this matter resolved quickly, but without relief soon many areas in my district will begin to go dry.”
The congressmen said that if the drought continues and Mexico does not release water the region will suffer agricultural losses and residents will be without water, too.
“Mexico has the responsibility to honor the terms of our agreement, and I look forward to our border communities being provided the water resources they need to continue their growth for years to come,” Cuellar said.
Hinojosa said the water supplies in Deep South Texas continue to dwindle and residents living in the region can no longer afford to wait for Mexico to release the water.
“We on the border have maintained a very good relationship with Mexico and we plan on keeping close ties. We ask that they do the right thing and release the water that is owed to us and that they do it quickly,” Hinojosa said.
The letters do not mention a timeline in which congressmen hope the water gets paid back. They simply note that they hope to hear soon from Medina Mora and Drusina.