Lucio Masthead Graphic
Press Release
March 19, 2001
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127
Sen. Lucio announces Mexico will repay portion of water debt to the United States

AUSTIN, TX--Today state Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, announced that the U.S. International Water and Boundary State Department issued a Minute Order today that will lead to the repayment of 600,000 acre feet of water against an outstanding debt of 1.5 million acre feet by Mexico to the United States.

The water debt, which will be repaid through July 31, 2001, meets the provisions of the February 3, 1944 United States-Mexico Treaty for Utilization of Waters of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of the Rio Grande.

"This repayment will save local farmers this year's crop and will mean a savings of $600 million by preventing economic losses to the Rio Grande Valley in agriculture and business," explained Sen. Lucio, who has been working on resolving this water issue for the last five years.

The remaining debt of 900,000 acre feet of water will also be resolved by both governments.

"I'm thrilled to see that we finally reached an agreement that is fair to both countries and will prevent economic hardships to the Rio Grande Valley," said Sen. Lucio. "This is all Rio Grande water that is used for our agriculture and our municipalities, and it is critical that we regain our portion of that water.

"I am also extremely appreciative of the part of the discussion that will lead both countries, in a spirit of friendship, to work on methods to prevent the recurrence of the situation and to jointly identify measures that address drought management and sustainable management of this water basin."

The Minute Order must be approved by both governments before entering into effect.