U.S. And Mexico Agree To Extend 1944 Colorado River Treaty

Published: Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 7:49am
Updated: Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 2:40pm

The binational commission that oversees water treaties between the United States and Mexico officially approved a new agreement on Wednesday. The deal extends a 1944 treaty for the Colorado River.

Among other changes, the International Boundary and Water Commission is adding more money for water conservation projects in Mexico.

The investments will bring benefits to Arizona, according to Tom Buschatzke. He’s director of Arizona’s Department of Water Resources and was part of the negotiations.

"We also benefit from the potential for investment in conservation," Buschatzke said. "Some of the water that is resulting from that conservation would go to water users in Arizona specifically."

Buschatzke said as part of the deal, the Central Arizona Water Conservation District put money into conservation in Mexico. That means it’ll get some of the water savings. The District is in charge of getting Colorado River water to central and Southern Arizona.

The new treaty governing Colorado River water use goes through 2026.

Lori Kuczmanski is with the International Boundary and Water Commission, which worked on the deal. She says another important provision is Mexico’s willingness to collaborate with the U.S. on conserving water.

“Should a lower-basin drought contingency plan be put into effect in the United States, then Mexico will also undertake water savings. These savings will be recoverable when the reservoir conditions improve.”  

With us for a few minutes to talk about this agreement is John Fleck. He writes about water policy and is the Director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources Program.

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