EDINBURG, Texas — A local water supply company paid more than a million dollars for emergency water supplies and they say it’s Mexico’s fault.
CBS 4 spoke to the company’s leadership who explains why they had to shell out big bucks and why the solution still isn’t clear.
“Mexico is supposed to be delivering certain amounts of water into the Rio Grande and they have not been doing it,” said Steven Sanchez, General Manager of North Alamo Water Supply.
Under the 1944 Water Treaty with Mexico, the Mexican government is obligated to release water into the Rio Grande, but Sanchez says it’s been years since they have and now with the drought approaching, the supply is running dry.
“If North Alamo was not moving the way we’re moving to get this done, customers would have no or very little water pressure, it would be a complete disaster,” said Sanchez, “Our concern is that if Mexico does not start releasing the water, the other districts are going to be hurt, the ones we’re using to run it through and then what are we gonna do at that point?”
That’s why North Alamo Water Supply just spent $1.06 million to get water to customers in Hidalgo, Willacy and Northern Cameron Counties.
“We’re running a separate line to go to another district, to supplement the water through that area and that line will cost us over a million dollars to put it in the ground and get the water to our customers,” said Sanchez.
The big question is are customers going to see a bigger bill?
“We don’t know yet right now, we have taken some money from reserves to get this thing done, but we may have to do a surcharge to our customers, we don’t know yet,” said Sanchez.
In the meantime, Sanchez asked for help from local politicians to take action from Mexico.
“We need to keep the pressure on,” said State Representative Eddie Lucio III.
State Representative Eddie Lucio III (D-Brownsville) and State Representative Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio), who chairs the House committee charged with overseeing water issues, are escalating calls on federal officials to change the government’s policy towards the application of the treaty.
For the last 14 years, Lucio says this has been an issue and it’s gone on too long.
“Through the history of that treaty, we’ve never failed to meet our deliverables to Mexico of that river, yet Mexico consistently fails to deliver the water to the Rio Grande. our hope and dream and where I think we can make an impact if we withhold deliveries of water from the Colorado River in proportion to the failed deliveries to the Rio Grande from Mexico,” said Lucio.
Both Sanchez and Lucio say they hope the federal government will see this issue and step in to ensure the Rio Grande that supplies water to millions, does not dry up.