Necessity may be what overcame the most difficult obstacles between the United States and Mexico and, while it is about water, it is also about much more.
Deep-seated passions that dominated relations between the two countries about Colorado River water are being pushed aside. Now, and over the next five years, new rules are being put in place to share the pain of drought and the benefits of wet years.
Between the drought impacting a number of Western states in the U.S. and Mexico’s urgent need to upgrade its canals, which were damaged in the 7.2 earthquake in 2010, a five-year negotiating effort finally reached a conclusion this week.
With the signing, Mexico will be allotted an amount of water from Lake Mead, will receive $10 million to repair damaged irrigation systems, and three agencies responsible for water management including that of Los Angeles will pay Mexico $21 million to purchase water.
On the other hand, Mexico will accept just like California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming to surrender its quota when the water levels recede. And, it will receive benefits when the waters rise.
In reality, this really isn’t a question benefits. Today is it hard to even imagine that the waters of Lake Mead will rise again when the level continues to decline and the demands continues to rise with the third connection for the insatiable Las Vegas.
The treaty is a way of incorporating Mexico into the management of the water of Colorado River after being shunned for years. It is no longer adequate to simply guarantee water supply to Tijuana and other cities in the northeastern part of Mexico.
The treaty’s results will be reviewed in five years. The necessity that forced both countries to sign the pact shows that, at least when it comes to water, cooperation is the best path.