Mexico pays its water debt to the U.S.

A day before the treaty deadline was set to expire, Mexico satisfied its water debt with the U.S. One Texas ag community was thrilled with the news.

Fred Karle is a citrus producer in McAllen, Texas who knows a thing or two about the treaty between the U.S. and Mexico that has been around for decades. He says that it has been quite the complicated conflict.

“Mexico gets water from the Colorado River out in Arizona, and we get water from the Rio Grande watershed... two-thirds of which is in Mexico, and as the Mexico area started developing their agriculture, they dammed up some of the tributaries and their farmers over there are trying to claim that water and protect that water,” Karle states. “We say that that water belongs to us and we were supposed to run down and get it in the Rio Grande and get it in our lakes.”

Karle believes this new deal will help clear up some confusion over water used to irrigate.

“Our agriculture economy is based on irrigation, mostly, or to a big part, and that’s the basis for our irrigation, is that water that comes out of the whole watershed, and like I say, two-thirds of that watershed is in Mexico,” he explains.

The produce industry is also grateful a deal has been signed.

Texas Produce Association’s Dante Galeazzi states, “That’s going to be huge because the reservoir levels down here in south Texas have been getting very low, and what happens is, is if the water isn’t at a certain point in the reservoirs, then what happens is farmers, cities, everybody starts getting allocations of water.”

That means these reservoirs that provide water do not have enough to provide for the farmers.

“So, when you’re farming, and you need that water to make the produce grow or size up or the plants take root, that becomes very, very big. Now, that’s not something that impacts us a whole lot in the fall, but usually about January, especially in drought years like what we’ve had this year,” Galeazzi adds. “That’s when we really start to feel it.”

Galeazzi says that for farmers starting the produce season, the extra water will really help.