Arizona Edition - The 1944 U.S./Mexico Water Treaty established rules for sharing the waters of the Colorado River. A little over a year ago, the two nations signed Minute 319, a five-year agreement to cooperate on measures to preserve and study the Colorado River Basin, the stretch between the U.S.-Mexico border and the Sea of Cortez that was once a lush network of wetlands and river channels and is now a parched and mostly barren wasteland.
Beginning March 23rd and lasting for 8 weeks, about 1 percent of the Colorado River will be released to makes its way to Sea of Cortez and bring new life as it flows through the once lush river delta.
But Minute 319 is about more than just a new effort to bring life to the delta. The agreement reflects a new commitment on the part of the U.S. and Mexico to share in the surplus and shortage of Colorado River water—something that has taken years to come to agreement on.
Dr. Sharon Megdal is Director of the Water Resources Research Center at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Dr. Megdal says negotiating with Mexico has been difficult, in part, because water in that is a nationalized commodity, while in the U.S. there is a patchwork of federal, state and local organizations that manage water resources. That’s made bringing all the parties together difficult, but Dr. Megdal tells KAWC’s Lou Gum the last few years have seen a new level of cooperation…(originally aired 03/19/14).
This piece was featured in the March 19th Arizona Edition. Other pieces featured in the show can be found below in the related content section.