Border 2012: U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program David Trujillo Sonia Uribe CE 397 – Transboundary Water Resources November 1, 2005 Environmental and Water Resources Engineering University of Texas at Austin
La Paz Agreement1983 Border Environmental Agreement Background Signed in 1983, in La Paz, Baja California Defines U.S. - Mexico border region • ± 2,000 miles The Gulf of Mexico - the Pacific Ocean • ± 62.5 miles on either side of the border Address environmental problems and health diseases environmentally-related.
Geography • Climates: Mediterranean, San Diego-Tijuana area Desert Lands, New Mexico-Chihuahua, and Texas • Biological diversity • Multiple jurisdictions: Ten states, local governments, and U.S. Tribes.
Demography More than 11.8 million people 6.3 million in the United States 5.5 million in Mexico 90% population in cities 10% small towns or rural communities Population growth rate exceed anticipated national average growth rate for each country.
Environmental Degradation Rapid population growth in urban areas Unplanned development Traffic congestion High demand for land and energy Increased waste generation Overburdened or unavailable waste treatment and disposal facilities Increase chemical emergencies Water quality, air quality, and natural Resources adversely impacted
Environmental Health Problems Waterborne diseases Regional environmental degradation Respiratory diseases Inadequate water and sewage treatment Improper pesticide management Improper hazardous and solid wastes management Air pollution
1995, NAFTA: • The Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC) supports efforts to evaluate, plan, and implement financially and operationally sustainable water and wastewater projects • The North American Development Bank (NADB) helps project sponsors develop financial package.
Border XXI (1996-2000) Improve water quality through the construction of infrastructure and development of pretreatment programs Nine groups focused on particular border-wide environmental issues Strategies to reach sustainable development: • Ensure public involvement in the development and implementation of Program • Build capacity and decentralize environmental management • Ensure interagency cooperation
Border XXI(1996-2000) Specific Projects: BECC http://www.cocef.org/ NADBhttp://www.nadbank.org/
Border 2012: U.S.-Mexico Environmental Program Ten-year program: EPA and SEMARNAT with other federal agencies To implement an address environmental issues in the border region. Four regionally-focused workshops to facilitated active community participation.
Goals and Objectives • Goal #1: Reduce Water Contamination • Goal #2:Reduce Air Pollution • Goal #3:Reduce Land Contamination • Goal #4:Improve Environmental Health
Goals and Objectives • Goal #5:Reduce Exposure to Chemicals from Accidental Chemical Releases and/or Terrorism • Goal #6:Improve Environmental Performance Trough Compliance, Enforcement, Pollution Prevention, and Promotion of Environmental Stewardship.
Goal #1: Reduce Water Contamination Objectives are stated as: Objective #1: By 2012, promote 25% > homes connected to potable watersupply and waste water collection and treatment systems
Goal #1: Reduce Water Contamination Objectives are stated as: Objective #2: By 2012, assess significant shared and transboundary surface waters and achieve a majority of water quality standards currently being exceeded in those waters
Goal #1: Reduce Water Contamination Objectives are stated as: Objective #3: By 2006, implement a monitoring system for evaluating coastal water quality at the international border beaches. By 2006, establish a 2012 objective toward meeting coastal water quality standards of both countries
Goal #1: Reduce Water Contamination Objectives are stated as: Objective #4: By 2005, promote the assessment of water system conditions in 10% of the existing water systems in the border cities to identify opportunities for improvement in overall water system efficiencies.
Transboundary Water: Mexico-US • Motivation • IBWC/CILA • Colorado basin • Rio Grande/ Rio Bravo Basin • Groundwater • Discussion
IBWC/CILA • Responsibilities: • - Distributions of Colorado and Rio Grande water • - Construction and maintenance of dams • - Flood protection projects • - Border sanitation/ water quality • - Border demarcation • IBWC headquarters: El Paso • CILA headquarters: Ciudad Juarez • 1973 Minute: Authority to agreement on groundwater • Binational Rio Grande Summit: November 2005
US: 1.5 million ac-ft per year US: 60,000 ac-ft per year Mexico: 350,000 ac-ft per year Basins
Colorado River Issues • Problem: 1960’s high salinity: 2700 ppm • Wellton Mohawk irrigation district • Solution : Interim Solution, Yuma Plant • Potential problems: within 115 ppm • Lessons: Linking problems
Rio Grande/Rio Bravo Issues • Water debt (1992-2002) • Texas farmers: US $ 500 million demand • Over 1,000,000 ac-ft • Drought: internal conflict (<20% storage capacity) • September 27, 2005 • Define drought strategies
Border Environmental Cooperation Commission • BECC/COCEF • 2.4 billion dollars in projects to date • Delicias Irrigation District (2002) • US $ 143 million • Canal upgrades • Modern irrigation systems • Grading • Saving up to 200,000 ac-ft/yr
Groundwater in PdN • PdN: Ciudad Juarez, El Paso, Las Cruces • Largest binational metropolitan area • 5 million by 2030 • Dependent on Hueco Bolson • -No bilateral strategy • -Hueco Bolson: dry by 2025 • -IBWC: only mapping of aquifers • New Mexico: State • Mexico: Federal • Texas: Private
Groundwater in PdN • Reducing groundwater dependence: • Juarez (88 gpcd) • Use 60,000 ac-ft for municipal use • South portion of the Mesilla Aquifer • Other aquifers • Reduce leaks • Purple pipe project
Groundwater in PdN • Reducing groundwater dependence: • El Paso (40%): • 1970’s: 230 gpcd • Water pricing • Grey water use • Recycling treated water into aquifers • 2004: 137 gpcd
Groundwater in PdN • East Mesilla Aquifer: TDS 5,000 mg/l • Largest inland desalination plant • 27.5 MGD • El Paso water +25% • Completed: 2007 • El Paso Water Utilities- Fort Bliss • Deep well injection • 50 years
Groundwater in PdN • Mesilla Bolson also a shared aquifer • 50 years of water • Agreement on groundwater • El Paso del Norte Water Task Force (1999)
Discussion • Which challenges could be faced by policy maker in unifying both countries environmental rules and standards?
Discussion • Which challenges could be faced by policy maker in unifying both countries environmental rules and standards? • Which challenges could be faced by the government of each of the two countries while implementing these unifying environmental rules and standards?
Do you feel there is a need to renegotiate the 1944 treaty to take into consideration drought conditions and environmental aspects?
Do you feel there is a need to renegotiate the 1944 treaty to take into consideration drought conditions and environmental aspects? Taking into consideration that the Mesilla Bolson is also a shared aquifer. Do you believe that groundwater issues in PdN can be solved without a comprehensive agreement? How can the US and Mexico overcome the differences in their groundwater concession practices?