Pressure by U.S. and Texas lawmakers and water officials has drawn a response from Mexico, a release of an estimated 7,000 acre-feet of water from Mexico’s La Fragua dam/reservoir. But Rio Grande Valley water officials charge such a limited release is little more than a slap in the face and will provide no relief for communities and farmers who are currently facing critical water shortages.

International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) spokeswoman Sally Spener in El Paso says they are still trying to determine the exact amount of water released late last week. But Sonia Lambert, general manager of the San Benito Irrigation District, says the district estimates the release to be about 2.3 billion gallons, a “very small amount” of water for use in the Valley.

Officials say that may sound like a lot of water, but an acre-foot of water is only enough to cover one acre of land to a one-foot depth of irrigated water. In the case of 7,000 acre-feet of released water, that would provide only about two inches of irrigated water for 42,000 acres. The Valley currently has about 63,000 acres of cotton planted this year, and that represents only one type of crop. The Valley commercially grows cotton, corn, grain sorghum, sugar cane, assorted types of vegetables, the state’s commercial production of oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, and specialty crops like pecans and other fruits and nuts.