AudioEverything IBWC Commissioner Giner said in her recent speech in Weslaco

Heavy focus on Mexico’s water debt to the United States.

WESLACO, Texas – Maria-Elena Giner, head of the U.S. section of the International Boundary & Water Commission, recently visited the Rio Grande Valley for a federal-state stakeholders meeting. 

Held at Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center Auditorium in Weslaco, the meeting was attended by farmers, ranchers, irrigators and rural community leaders.

Giner spoke for about 16 minutes. Most of her speech focused on Mexico’s water debt to the United States under a 1944 international treaty. However, she also spoke briefly about ongoing efforts to repair Amistad Dam.

Under the 1944 water treaty, Mexico is obliged to send 1.75 million acre feet of water to the U.S. in a five year cycle. So, it should be averaging 350,000 acre feet per year. Giner said this is not currently happening. 

“When I was here last year, it was really scary. There was only about 45 days of water left for some communities. We were down here and our reservoirs were reaching their lowest point. We were lucky in August. It rained and we got a bump up in our delivery. But, we’re still way below some of the driest years we’ve had,” Giner said.

“It puts a lot of pressure on this region and we realize that.”

Giner said 70 percent of the water that flows into the Rio Grande comes from six tributaries in Mexico. Mexico has built reservoirs on those tributaries, Giner explained. 

“The issue that we’re seeing right now is that there’s water there (in the Mexico reservoirs) and why are we not getting water delivered?” Giner said.

“We are in the third year of a water cycle and it gives me very little leverage right now.”

However, Giner said there are a lot of things the U.S. has been moving forward on. She referenced Minute 325 that was signed by the U.S. and Mexico in 2020. 

“One of the important points of that minute were four little words that were included: improve predictability and reliability.”

Giner said she expects a new Minute to be agreed and signed by the U.S. and Mexico by December 2023. 

“Right now, we are negotiating on many points with our Mexican partners as to what is going to be included in that Minute so that we can move forward and move towards bringing predictability and reliability to the Rio Grande.”

Here are Giner’s remarks in full from the Weslaco meeting:


Just a few days before her remarks in Weslaco, Commissioner Giner testified before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment U.S. House of Representatives. Click here to read her prepared remarks.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows veteran broadcaster Ron Whitlock providing Commissioner Giner with a watermelon.

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