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A leading source for news and analysis about Mexico and the U.S.-Mexican border.

Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012

U.S. to buy some of Mexico's share of Colorado River water in exchange for money Mexico will use to repair earthquake damage to Mexicali irrigation canals, papers report; more water also to go to parched delta wetlands in Mexico

     The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that U.S. and Mexican officials were to sign sign a five-year deal for U.S. regional water agencies to buy 95,000 acre-feet of Mexico's share of Colorado River water in exchange for $10 million to be used to repair earthquake damage to Mexicali irrigation canals. The canals were damaged by a 7.2-magnitude Easter Sunday earthquake in 2010.

     U-T San Diego had somewhat different overall figures later Tuesday, saying Mexico will receive $21 million for water projects while "the U.S. side is guaranteed about 124,000 acre feet of water created by the new system’s efficiencies."

    The papers, reporting from the International Boundary and Water Commission meeting in Coronado, said Mexico will continue to be able store water at Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border and that the deal calls for large volumes of water to be sent to parched delta wetlands in Mexico in an attempt to restore the environment there.

      The Times and U-T San Diego said the Metropolitan Water District will pay $5 million and receive about 47,500 acre-feet of water. The Times said the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Central Arizona Water Conservation District will split the remaining cost and water.

     U-T San Diego quoted José Luis Luege, head of Mexico's National Water Commission, as saying the agreement is"the beginning of a new stage in water relations." Also attending the meeting was U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

     The Times said the 95,000 acre-feet would "cover the needs of 200,000 families for a year."

Story, Los Angeles Times. Story, U-T San Diego.