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U.S., Mexico Extend Treaty to Manage Water Supplies from Colorado River

LADB Article ID: 80432
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2017-10-04
By: Carlos Navarro

While the US and Mexico remain embroiled in disputes over immigration and border security, the two countries have quietly reached an agreement to extend a longstanding treaty over sharing of water on the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, known in Mexico as the Río Bravo. Negotiations were led by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), which has had oversight over water-sharing issues since the US and Mexico signed a water-sharing treaty in 1944. The nine-year agreement, signed at the end of September in Santa Fe, New Mexico, expands on the 1944 treaty, allowing the US and Mexico to continue using the Colorado River while also pushing more conservation efforts to ensure that water is available during droughts.The accord, known as Minute 323, is an amendment to the treaty that lays out how the two nations share the river. The treaty promises Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet (1.9 billion cubic meters) of water annually. The remaining water will be used by the US. The average annual flow in the river is about 16.4 million acre-feet (20 billion cubic meters), according the US Bureau of Reclamation, which manages the river in the US. As part of the latest agreement, the US committed to spend US$31.5 million on conservation efforts in Mexico that would include relining leaky canals, improving water pump systems, and using more advanced runoff capture systems that allow water to be reclaimed and stored,

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