What is in this article?:
- Water is once again rapidly running down the lower Rio Grande River -- at least for the next few days -- bringing some relief to parched South Texas cities and irrigation districts.
- But Texas and U.S. officials point out emergency release of waters upstream does not affect water owed by Mexico according to a treaty agreement.
- Meanwhile, pressure continues to build on U.S. officials who are being encouraged to step up the pressure on Mexico to secure the release of additional water.
Valley water officials say situation is critical
The Valley’s two other largest water districts, Hidalgo County Water District # 9 and Delta Lake Irrigation District, have announced that without substantial new inflows from Mexico or substantial rain, they too will likely stop taking orders within 30 days.
“We were forced to stop taking water orders last week,” reports Sonia Lambert, General Manager, Cameron County Irrigation District # 2. “We have been talking to the IBWC since November, warning them this was going to happen.”
Lambert said she is aware of meetings taking place in Washington, D.C.
“But meeting without inviting any of the people who are actually being impacted by the shortages…seems arrogant, at best. The IBWC seems to always wait until we have a crisis, then reacts,” she added.
“We will have to stop taking water orders by the end of May or early June, barring no new inflows and no substantial rains,” said Frank White, general manager of Hidalgo County Water District # 9. “It’s frustrating that the IBWC has been aware of this for so long and yet they have not done anything.”
Delta Lake Irrigation District General Manager Troy Allen says his district will probably run out of water and will stop taking orders on or about June 2.
“About half of our municipal suppliers are already having trouble paying for their water supply, and it’s not going to get any better for them, unless Mexico starts paying its deficit. We have warned the IBWC and warned them, and we’ve just beat that horse to death with them, and they have yet to get any significant results toward resolving the issue.”
Irrigation district officials report they are elated over the current emergency releases from Lake Amistad, but warn the effort will bring only temporary relief. They say they hope U.S. officials can convince Mexican water authorities to release more water from reservoirs in Northern Mexico in the days ahead.