Gosar to Mexico: Honor Your Water Treaty Commitments
Washington, DC, October 20, 2023
Washington, D.C.-- Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-09), issued the following statement in response to recent disclosures that Mexico has failed to comply with a 1944 water treaty requiring it to supply the United States with water from the Rio Grande River:
“I formally requested that the Biden administration investigate troubling disclosures that Mexico has failed to meet its side of treaty obligations to supply water to the United States. The treaty requires the U.S. to provide water to Mexico from the Colorado River, and Mexico was to provide water to the U.S. from the Rio Grande.
The United States has complied with its treaty obligations, Mexico has not. This lack of adherence to the treaty is unacceptable. If Mexico continues to ignore its responsibilities, the United States should unilaterally remedy the breach and withhold Colorado River water from Mexico and store it in Lake Mead or distribute to users,” concluded Congressman Paul Gosar.
Congressman Gosar sent a letter to Interior Secretary Haaland requesting the Department of Interior investigate reports that Mexico has failed to meet its water treaty obligations.
The 1944 water treaty entitled the Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and the Rio Grande was signed by the United States and Mexico on February 3, 1944 and ratified by the United States Senate on April 18, 1945 and by President Truman on November 1, 1945.
Under the treaty, the United States is required to provide Mexico with 1.5 million acre-feet of water every year from the Colorado River, while Mexico must supply the United States with 1.75 million acre-feet of water from tributaries of the Rio Grande river every five years. The United States has fully complied with its treaty obligations, Mexico has not.
We are in the third year of the current five-year cycle, and Mexico is 600,000 acre-feet of water short of the amount – or 39% of the total – that Mexico needs to have provided in order to keep pace with the provisions of the treaty.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality claims that six million people in Texas rely on the Rio Grande for drinking water and that Mexico has failed to provide timely water delivery for the past 30 years. This lack of adherence to the treaty is unacceptable.
Arizona and the other Colorado River states have fully supported the United States’ transfer of water to Mexico. Even though Arizona is suffering from drought and the water levels at Lake Mead are very low, U.S. treaty obligations have been achieved.