Nov 20 2012
The United States and Mexico signed Minute 319 to the 1944 Mexican
Water Treaty related to the use of the Colorado River on November 20 in San Diego, California. The Minute is a five-year cooperative agreement between Mexico and the United States (on behalf of the seven Colorado River Basin States – including Arizona) that will help ensure that the Colorado River system is able to continue to meet the needs of stakeholders that rely on its flows.
Minute 319 provides a framework for: long-term planning and conservation activities; protection of water levels in Lake Mead to reduce the potential for water shortage; and potential development of additional sources of water from joint United States-Mexico water development projects.
This agreement benefits the State of Arizona through carrying forward provisions of Minute 318, approved in December 2010, allowing for the storage of Mexico’s water in Lake Mead, thus providing additional protection against shortage for US water users.
A Memorandum of Agreement among the United States, the seven Basin States (including Arizona) and water agencies in the United States was also signed today in conjunction with Minute 319.
This MOA provides Arizona water users additional certainty regarding the implementation of Minute 319 and further cements the cooperative nature of the management of the Colorado River among the US parties.
The International Boundary and Water Commission (Spanish: Comisión Internacional de Límites y Aguas) is an international body created in 1889 by the United States and Mexico to administer the many boundary and water-rights treaties and agreements between the two nations.
The organization was created as the International Boundary Commission by the Convention of 1889, and given its present name under the 1944 Treaty. Under these agreements, the IBWC has a U.S. section and a Mexican section, headquartered in the adjoining cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. The U.S. section is administered by the Department of State; the Mexican part by the Secretariat of Foreign Relations. Some of the rights and obligations administered by the IBWC include:
distribution between the two countries of the waters of the Rio Grande and of the Colorado River;
regulation and conservation of the waters of the Rio Grande for their use by the two countries by joint construction, operation and maintenance of international storage dams and reservoirs and plants for generating hydroelectric energy at the dams;
protection of lands along the river from floods by levee and floodway projects;
solution of border sanitation and other border water quality problems;
preservation of the Rio Grande and Colorado River as the international boundary;
demarcation of the land boundary.
The U.S. and Mexican commissioners meet at least weekly, alternating the place of meetings and are in almost daily contact with one another. Each section maintains its own engineering staff, a secretary and such legal advisers and other assistants as it deems necessary.