U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), along with U.S. Reps. Filemon Vela (TX-34) and Mike Conaway (TX-11) today introduced the Working to Address Treaty Enforcement Rapidly (WATER) for Texas Act in the Senate and House to address Mexico's failure to uphold its water obligations to the U.S. under the 1944 Treaty (Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande Treaty), contributing to Texas' growing water shortage. Text of the legislation is attached.
"The water debt and uncertainty about supply harms Texas farmers, ranchers, and small businesses who rely on regular, reliable sources of water," said Sen. Cornyn. "Unfortunately, over the past two decades, Texas farmers alone have lost hundreds of millions of dollars during these shortfalls, and we must step up pressure on Mexico before it's too late."
"As Texas faces one of the most severe drought conditions in recent memory, it is crucial that Mexico begin meeting its obligations to its water agreement with the U.S.," Sen. Cruz said. "Ensuring that Texas farmers and ranchers have the water they need for their operations is a critical issue for our state, and I am pleased to work with my colleagues to ensure steps are taken to secure the water that Texas is owed and that is essential to the livelihood of countless Texas families."
"The U.S. has always met our obligations to deliver water to Mexican border states under the 1944 International Water Treaty which, like American border states, depend greatly on our shared water resources," said Rep. Vela. "Since last November, the Department of State and IBWC have known that Mexico's failure to meet its obligations under the treaty would negatively impact South Texas communities. The State Department and IBWC have been ineffective in securing much needed water deliveries from Mexico. The "WATER for Texas Act' will help countless American farmers, ranchers, and residents in areas along our southern border get the resources they need to carry on with life."
"Texas farmers, ranchers and landowners need water -- and they aren't getting enough. I support efforts to ensure Texas has access to water and to engage the State Department on this important issue," Rep. Conaway said.
Background on the WATER Act:
Requires the U.S. Secretary of State to submit a report, no later than 45 days after enactment and quarterly thereafter, describing efforts by Mexico to meet their treaty obligations to deliver water to the Rio Grande under the 1944 Treaty.
Requires the U.S. Secretary of State to put forward an annual report describing the benefits the United States is receiving from the interim cooperative measures in the Colorado River basin that help Mexico following the 2010 earthquake.
Prevents the U.S. Secretary of State from extending benefits for Mexico from this interim agreement if the Secretary fails to comply with the report requirements.