What is in this article?:
Rio Grande Regional Water Authority (RGRWA) is desperately on the hunt for new water sources.
The plan did provide a number of funding possibilities, including assistance from the State of Texas through several existing water programs, including:
- The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
- The Rural Water Assistance Fund
- State Participation Program
- Water Infrastructure Fund
- The Economically Distressed Areas Program
- The Regional Water Supply and Wastewater Facilities Planning Program
The study concludes that the consequences of inadequate action to address the growing water needs of the region could be devastating, citing the rich agricultural industry of the Lower Rio Grande Valley as an example. The Valley's economy is heavily driven by agriculture. The annual value of crops and citrus grown in the study area is estimated at $50 million and $200 million, respectively.
Texas is the third largest citrus producer and fourth largest sugarcane producer in the United States, most of which is grown in the study area. Other prominent crops produced in the region include cotton, sorghum, and corn.
In addition, urban expansion will vastly increase the demand for water resources. While agriculture may decline as cities demand more rural area for expansion, water needs of a growing population will easily surpass and take precedence over agricultural production.
With the growing complexities in the administration of the U.S./Mexico Water Treaty and the increased demand for water on both sides of the border, officials are suggesting negotiations over water rights by population and industry in both nations will further complicate the distribution and sharing of water resources and will further tax the existing water treaty. Water officials within the region are pushing to bring the recommendations of the 2011 water study to the forefront of regional planning efforts.