POSTED: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 4:16pm
UPDATED: Thursday, July 4, 2013 - 8:02am
HIDALGO COUNTY, TEXAS (KVEO NEWS CENTER 23) — The Valley is in the grip of a drought. Water should be coming from Mexico as part of a treaty signed in 1944, but our neighbor to the South is not complying.
"We're trying to give a heads up to our politicians, our representatives, so they can have information and they basically have to do their job, go and talk to their Mexican counterparts," said Luis Ribera, an associate professor of economics at Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Agriculture production is worth more than $800 million in the Valley. If farmers don't get water for irrigation, they may not plant anything this fall.
The city of Donna perhaps can run out of water for its residents by August. So unless rain comes, and comes fast, we'll ned Mexico to hold up its end of the treaty.
"This is not an argument about who gets the water, this is an argument about one side not fulfilling their responsibility," said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.
Mexico's water deficit is now about 459,000 acre-feet. That's enough water to fill more than 200,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
The question now becomes how does the government get Mexico to pay up?
"We need to recognize the United States is in partnerships with the Mexican government on many different issues," Staples said. "We need to evaluate how we need to stop maybe some of the things we are doing, use those resources to help our cities and help our farmers."
Commissioner Staples said he's been working with the State Department on how to get more aggressive with the Mexican government.
If nothing gets done, nearly 5,000 jobs in the Valley will be lost. There will be $395 million just sucked up out of the region.