A U.S. Congressman from South Texas says water concerns are mounting among city leaders, residents and farmers in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas over the delivery of water from Mexico as required by a 1944 water treaty, especially after getting a letter April 1 from Thomas Gibbons, U.S. State Department assistant secretary of legislative affairs.

Gibbons letter was a written response to letters sent last month to the State Department by Rio Grande Valley officials and lawmakers from Texas requesting assistance in getting Mexico to deliver water to South Texas as mandated by the treaty. Copies of those letters were also sent to officials at the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), a bi-national agency charged with managing water allocations from the Rio Grande River and its tributaries.

Gibbons wrote that “we [the State Department] remain hopeful that a solution will be forthcoming in a timely manner,” but the letter failed to mention any specific dates regarding water delivery.

“They don’t care about South Texas,” Congressman Filemon Vela of Brownsville said of State Department and IBWC officials in response.

Vela, along with a number of other South Texas officials, say Mexico is overdue in delivering water that is desperately needed in the Valley because of current and extreme drought conditions.  Most Valley communities have enacted water restrictions already and the region’s citrus growers say they fear the shortage of irrigation water could be tragic to the Valley’s large citrus industry as well as to other farming operations in the agriculture-rich Valley.

Vela quickly shot back another letter to Gibbons.

“To be clear, your letter has not been helpful,” Vela responded.