USIBWC Update on the International Waters of the Rio Grande


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Presentation at the TWCA mid year conference 2012

Carlos Peña, Principal Engineer Operations
International Boundary and Water Commission,
United States Section

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  • Over 300 minutes of the IBWC. Various Minutes relate to construction, operation, and maintenance of Amistad and Falcon Dams, levee systems and flood control projects, etc.
  • This is where our field offices are located. There is usually a Mexican counterpart office at the sister city.Along the Rio Grande, we have personnel in Las Cruces, El Paso, Fort Hancock, Presidio, Del Rio, Laredo, Falcon and Mercedes.We also maintain an office at the State Department.
  • What was different this year…there was not sufficient project water to sustain a continuous release from Caballo reservoir for the entire irrigation season.US irrigation districts (EBID and EP#1) developed a water budget that deferred releases until Mid-May/June timeframe.Unfortunately, Mexico was informed of US plan on Feb. 15th (2 weeks prior to typical start of irrigation season). Mexico did not have operating well infrastructure to augment 1st irrigation with groundwater, therefore requested their allocated amount in late March.A compromise was reached in the hallways of the Austin capitol building where EP#1 reluctantly agreed to come on-line with Mexico on April 5th.
  • The Conchos River in the Big Bend area is the biggest contributor to Mexico’s treaty deliveries followed by the Salado, which enters at Falcon. The two dams are Amistad and Falcon.A new cycle begins after the U.S. conservation capacity in Amistad and Falcon Dams is filled so sometimes cycles are less than 5 years.
  • USIBWC Update on the International Waters of the Rio Grande

    1. 1. “USIBWC Update on the International Waters of the Rio Grande” presented at Texas Water Conservation Association on June 14, 2012 by Carlos Peña, Principal Engineer Operations International Boundary and Water Commission, United States Section
    2. 2. IBWC MissionThe International Boundary and WaterCommission, United States and Mexico, isresponsible for applying the boundary and watertreaties between the two countries and settlingdifferences that arise in their application. Excellence through teamwork.
    3. 3. INTERNATIONAL BOUNDARY AND WATER COMMISSION (IBWC) MEXICAN US SECTION SECTION•Mexican Commissioner •US Commissioner•Secretary •Secretary•Two Principal Engineers •Two Principal Engineers•Legal Adviser •Legal Adviser
    4. 4. IBWC Minutes• Decisions of the Commission are recorded in the form of Minutes• Minutes are binding agreements of the IBWC intended to implement treaty.• They take effect once approved by the U.S. Department of State and Mexico’s IBWC Commissioners and Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretaries sign Min. 318 Excellence through teamwork.
    5. 5. Field OfficesSan Diego Yuma Nogales Up. Rio Grande Presidio Amistad Falcon L. Rio Grande Laredo
    6. 6. Present Rio Grande Reservoir Conditions
    7. 7. Allocation of Rio Grande WatersConvention of 1906 –“Equitable Distribution of the Waters of the Rio Grande” • El Paso-Juarez Valley to Fort Quitman1944 Water Treaty –“Utilization of Water of the Colorado and Tijuana Rivers and of Rio Grande” • Fort Quitman, Texas to Gulf of Mexico Excellence through teamwork.
    8. 8. Convention of 1906• Distribution between Mexico and the U.S. of the waters originating in the Upper Rio Grande watershed.• U.S. to deliver 60,000 acre-feet per United States American year to Mexico at the headworks of Canal the Acequia Madre Canal Mexico• Proportional reduction in deliveries in case of extraordinary drought American Dam American Dam• Project water stored in Elephant Butte and Caballo Dams – New Mexico Excellence through teamwork.
    9. 9. Convention of 19063 Primary Entities served with Project Water from Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs • Elephant Butte Irrigation District • El Paso County Water Mexico’s Deliveries Improvement District No. 1 US Deliveries • MexicoPoor contingency planning in winter of 2011 led to a delivery timing conflict International Dam in 2012. Excellence through teamwork.
    10. 10. • US Irrigation Districts Historical Starts of drought management strategy was to defer Irrigation Season deliveries until Mid-May or early June.• Officially informed Mexico of their plan on February 15, 2012.• Mexico did not have well infrastructure in place to wait until Mid-May• Compromise – EP#1 agreed to come on-line with Mexico on April 5th.
    11. 11. Lesson’s Learned from 2012• Initiate early contingency planning with all three irrigation entities (Fall of 2012)• Need better understanding of how surface water in channel interacts with aquifer.• Need better understanding of how groundwater pumping impacts channel conveyance efficiencies.• Federal study - (USIBWC/Reclamation) with input from 3 irrigation entities to analyze surface/groundwater interactions of system and propose operational strategies to better manage precious resource.
    12. 12. 1944 Water Treaty – Rio Grande• Mexico delivers water to the U.S., Ft. Quitman to Gulf Conchos• U.S. receives 1/3 of the waters River arriving in the Rio Grande from 6 Mexican tributaries Rio Grande• Minimum annual average of 350 kaf in cycles of 5 yrs• Treaty authorized construction of up to three storage dams on Rio Grande; only 2 were built Excellence through teamwork.
    13. 13. Fort Quitman MEXICAN TREATY TRIBUTARIES Arroyo Las VacasConchos Presidio AMISTAD DAM San Rodrigo Escondido San Diego Eagle Pass Laredo Salado E. San Antonio E. Las Tortillas FALCON DAM SAN GABRIEL
    14. 14. 1944 WATER TREATY1988-2012 5-year cycle deliveries by Mexico
    15. 15. RiverWare Modeling Objective: Develop comprehensive RioGrande basin model to support treatycriteria. RiverWare is a very flexible toolto support daily operations, mid-termforecasting, and long-range planning. USIBWC hired RiverWare subject matter expert. • Presently developing reservoir flood operation models. • Develop water accounting models in 2012. Combine model development with Mexico’s RiverWare models (in development) for comprehensive watershed model
    16. 16. Questions? Carlos Peña, Principal Engineer OperationsInternational Boundary and Water Commission, United States Section Excellence through teamwork.