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Mexican Government Authorizes Additional Water Flow Into U.S.

Lorne Matalon
Marfa Public Radio

The Mexican Government has agreed to release additional water into the Rio Grande from its tributaries outside of a 79-year-old treaty on water rights as both counties face a difficult drought.

The 90-day agreement will allow additional water from the San Rodrigo River to flow into the Rio Grande and be used by the two countries.

The agreement comes a few weeks after several South Texas congressmen voiced grave concerns about water shortages.

Commissioner Edward Drusina, with the International Boundary and Water Commission, the group that arbitrates water usage along the border, said more water is needed to address the water deficit in South Texas.

"It demonstrates that Mexico - through cooperation - can take, and is taking, some positive steps. There’s a lot more that is needed, but it is a good first step," Drusina said.

The new agreement also allows the usage of excess water from certain Mexican tributaries. Under a 1944 treaty that dictates water release, the U.S is allowed to use one-third of the water in the Rio Grande.

Mexico's proposal to build two new dams in the Conchos river basin is raising concern for the commission on whether or not the country can fulfill its water obligations to the U.S.