The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is calling on Rio Grande Valley cities to conserve water after farmers and ranchers have been forced to ration water since supplies dropped last year.
“Cities haven’t yet clued in on as quickly and urgently as those irrigators and water providers,” TCEQ Commissioner Bobby Janecka said. “Irrigators no longer have available water to call on. That means it’s going to become more costly for our cities to get the water that they rely on.”
Water levels at the two reservoirs that provide water to the entire Valley are at a combined 20.98%, the lowest they’ve been sine 1998.
Former TCEQ Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein says one bit of good news is the passage of Proposition 9 that will create a water fund in the state of Texas that will serve in part to seal off leaking water pipes.
Rubinstein says Valley residents are still using far too much water at 180–200 gallons of water per day while other places like San Antonio are using closer to 100 gallons.
“We need to do more to reduce our per capita consumption for whatever use it is,” Rubinstein said. “Whether it’s human consumption, industrial, power generation or agricultural, there are opportunities always.”
Many Valley cities and farmers are calling on Mexico to release water in the basin it owes to the U.S.
Adriana Resendiz, the head of the Mexican section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, said the Rio Grande basin is under drought and Mexico is looking at options to deliver more water to the Valley.
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