Mexico-U.S. Water Dispute

An examination of the Mexico-U.S. water dispute has affected farmers on both sides of the border.

The Mexican-U.S. dispute over water shortages in the Rio Grande has its roots in Mexico’s failure to abide by a 1944 water treaty. As a result, U.S. farmers on the American side of the Rio Grande have been strongly impacted, with many losing their businesses and the area’s agricultural industry severely damaged by the water shortage. This paper discusses how the U.S. government has been accused of dragging its feet on the issue and how Mexico has remained largely defiant of its action. It suggests that the solution to this issue may lie in stricter enforcement and the creation of new international laws involving the use of shared water resources, as well as beefing up water conservation on both sides of the border.

In recent years, Mexico and the United States have clashed over water shortages on either side of the Rio Grande River in South Texas. Mexico’s failure to abide by a 1944 water treaty since 1992 has severely damaged U.S. agriculture. While Mexico seems largely unrepentant and unwilling to release water to the U.S., U.S. officials have been accused of ignoring the issue in the wake of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). While steps are being made to address the issue, including water conservation and the release of some water owed to the U.S., much remains to be done to solve the shortage. Changes to international law involving the use of shared water resources may provide some long-term relief while the creation of more water conservation measures will likely help alleviate the shortage in the short-term.

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