News Feature | August 18, 2017

U.S. And Mexico Agree On Colorado River Deal

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

It is a tough moment for U.S. relations with Mexico as the two sides disagree about the merits of a border wall. But when it comes to water, the two nations still enjoy a functional relationship.

“Mexican and American officials are finalizing a water-sharing deal for the Colorado River, and a newly released summary of the accord’s key points shows negotiators have agreed on a cooperative approach geared toward boosting reservoir levels and trying to stave off a severe shortage,” The Desert Sun reported.

“The document, which federal officials have circulated among water agencies, outlines a series of joint measures that build on the current 5-year agreement, which expires at the end of this year,” the report said.

The Colorado River is the “lifeblood” of much of the U.S. Southwest, according to Politico. It feeds Phoenix, San Diego, and Las Vegas. It is a vital water source for American farmers.

“The river rises on the Continental Divide in Rocky Mountain National Park, and snakes 1,450 miles before finally draining into the Gulf of California on the Mexican side of the border — although most of the time there's barely a trickle left by the time the river reaches its delta,” the report said.

The new agreement is expected to be signed this fall, and it will remain in effect until 2026, The Desert Sun reported.

“It would extend provisions in the current agreement, known as Minute 319, that specify reductions in water deliveries during a shortage, as well as increases in water deliveries during wet periods. The agreement also provides for Mexico to continue storing water in Lake Mead, near Las Vegas, helping to boost the reservoir’s levels, which in the past few years have dropped to historic lows,” the report said.

Lake Mead declined to its lowest level since the 1930s last year, The Desert Sun previously reported.

For similar stories visit Water Online’s Source Water Scarcity Solutions Center.