"Between 1992 and 2002, the last time the U.S. allowed Mexico to violate the treaty, the Mexican water deficit had reached 1.5 million acre-feet. Under a different, more interested IBWC commissioner and a different, more engaged federal government, a series of meetings and negotiations were held," the commissioners write. "President George W. Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox discussed the issue in a face-to-face meeting. As a result, the Mexican government repaid every drop owed to the United States. It's time to ask, whose interests are the current IBWC leadership representing?"

In addition, the joint statement claims the "IBWC has chosen to give U.S. water to Mexico [and] failed to regain the 78,000 acre-feet of water used by the U.S. to counter water salinity impacts caused by Mexico; failed to properly implement the 1944 Water Treaty, resulting in the U.S. giving away half of its water spilling at Fort Quitman; and failed to protect U.S. interests last year and wasted water by fulfilling Mexico's request for water from Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico."

Staples and Rubinstein say there are ways both countries can meet water needs even under current dry conditions.

"We need leadership from the IBWC and meaningful involvement by the State Department to move beyond talk and start providing water. Without rainfall or relief from the IBWC, Texans in the Rio Grande Valley will face a dry and dangerous economic future," the op-ed concludes.


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