The Environmental, Economic and
Health Status of Water Resources
in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region
            December 2012


The Good Neighbor Environmental Board was created in 1992 by the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative Act, Public Law 102-
532. The purpose of the Board is to "advise the President and the Congress on the need for implementation of environmental
and infrastructure projects (including projects that affect agriculture, rural development, and human nutrition) within the states of
the United States contiguous to Mexico in order to improve the quality of life of persons residing on the United States side of
the border."

The Board is charged with submitting an annual report to the President and the Congress. Management responsibilities for the
Board were delegated to the Administrator of the  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by Executive Order 12916 on May 13,

The Board does  not carry out border-region activities of its  own, nor does it have a budget to fund border projects. Rather, its
unique role is to serve as a  nonpartisan advisor to the President and the Congress and recommend how the federal govern-
ment can most effectively work with its many partners to improve  conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Board operates under the provisions of the  Federal Advisory Committee Act and membership on the Board is extremely
diverse. By statute, the Board is composed of:

    (1)  "representatives from the United States  Government, including a representative from the Department of Agriculture
        and representatives from other appropriate agencies;
    (2)  representatives from the governments of the States of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas; and
    (3)  representatives from private organizations, including community development, academic, health, environmental, and
        other nongovernmental entities with experience on environmental and infrastructure problems along the southwest

The Board also includes representatives from tribal governments with lands in the border region.

The recommendations in this report do not necessarily reflect the  official positions of the federal departments and agencies
that are represented on the Board,  nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products,  or private companies constitute
To request a hardcopy of this report, contact the National Service Center for Environmental Publications at 1-800-490-9198 or
via e-mail  at and request publication number EPA 130-R-12-001.

(English version)


Table of Contents
Transmittal Letter to the President from the Chair of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board

        Case Study: Columbus, New Mexico - Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua
        Case Study: Coache//a Va//ey Water District - Coachella Canal Lining Project
    Water Supply
        Case Study: The Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP)
        Case Study: Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study
        Case Study: Environmental Flows in Texas
        Case Study: Impact of Off-Reservation Water Use on Tribal Land
        Case Study: Development of Improved Irrigation Scheduling for Freshwater Conservation in
                   Pecan Fields of El Paso County
        Case Study: Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative
        Case Study: The City of El Paso, Texas
    Water Quality
        Case Study: Monitoring for Impacts: The Texas Clean Rivers Program (for the Rio Grande Basin)
        Case Study: Colorado River Basin Water Quality Control Board and Imperial Va//ey Farm Bureau:
                   A Cooperative Approach for Implementation of Pollutant Limits
        Case Study: Reaching Across Borders - Landscape-Scale Conservation in the
                   Big Bend-Rio Bravo Region
        Case Study: Ready for Action - Watershed-Based Approaches for Restoration and Recovery:
                   The Tijuana River Va//ey Recovery Team
    Water Treatment
        Case Study: Water Improvements Project in Anthony, New Mexico
        Case Study: Resolving a Binational Water Quality Issue—the Nuevo Laredo Wastewater
                   Treatment Plant
        Case Study: Ambos Nogales
        Case Study: The New River
    Review and Recommendations

Glossary of Acronyms and Abbreviations
2012 Members of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board


                                               En-vironTien[al Advisors Acrcss Borders
                           Transmittal Letter to the President from  the Chair of the
                                      Good Neighbor Environmental Board

President Barack Obama
Vice President Joseph Biden
Speaker John Boehner

On behalf of the Good Neighbor Environmental Board, your independent advisory committee on environment and infrastructure
along the  U.S. border with Mexico, I am submitting to you our 15th report, The Environmental,  Economic and Health Status of
Water Resources in the U.S. -Mexico Border Region.

Although the border region is facing a number of issues that require attention,  and the Board has addressed water in previous
reports, Board members determined it was imperative to focus again on this  important topic given current climatic conditions,
particularly the extensive drought within the region, and to offer insights and  recommendations  in the context of these current
challenges. Compared to the United States as a whole, the  population of the border region is younger, has lower levels of
educational attainment, and has lower economic status than populations elsewhere. Of particular concern for this report and
the United States is that, despite significant investments, rapid  population growth, increasing water demand and the  declining
quality of water resources contribute to significant water and water infrastructure needs.

Water and wastewater infrastructure improvements can create or enhance economic opportunities in the region,  but  not
all communities are able to afford such investments or receive the benefits they offer. In the U.S. border region,  small rural
communities, on and off tribal lands, tend to face the greatest  needs. Many of  these communities lack basic water and waste-
water infrastructure services, or they require upgrades and replacement as well  as the personnel and resources to manage the
infrastructure they do have. Residents of communities with inadequate  distribution and treatment systems may face chronic
health problems and disease, many of which disproportionately affect young  children, adolescents and the elderly.

The Good Neighbor Environmental Board recognizes that water issues  in the  U.S. -Mexico border region are complex and  often
contentious. Two major river systems, several smaller river systems, and more than 20 ground water basins span  the  border.
Surface water resources were developed and institutional arrangements established to manage those resources before ground
water resources were developed and governed,  so there are few policies and institutions in place to govern ground  water
resources.  The combined effects of inadequate infrastructure, lack of financial resources and gaps in authority, along  with the
need  to share water supply during times of drought,  present substantial challenges and  require  comprehensive solutions.

The Board, in the development of this report, and following a tradition that has been maintained since  its inception,  has been
driven by  its desire to work through consensus in constructing all of its recommendations. We hope that this report is useful to
you and other U.S. government officials as we continue to think about  how we  can best achieve a healthier environment and a
better quality of life for all  of our citizens.  We appreciate the opportunity to serve you and  provide these recommendations and
we respectfully request a response.

Very truly yours,
Diane Austin, Chair
Good Neighbor Environmental Board

                                                                                 -^. *-
                                                                                  •"^ - _-_•
                                                                                      '     -r"rv

    he United States of America
    and  Mexico share a 1,952 mile
border, extending 100 km (62 miles)
on each side of the political boundary,
with a population of almost 14
million residents. It is a region that
has a unique binational character
and interdependence. Within this
region, water resources increasingly
are at risk, threatening the continued
viability of human settlements
and economic vitality. With regard
to natural resources, economics,
sociocultural and political concerns,
energy, and physical infrastructure
such as roads and housing, the
decisions reached on one side of
the international border have a clear,
demonstrable impact on the other.

               Understanding the context within which those decisions
               are made is key to addressing the issues that arise.
               Although the region  includes bustling centers of com-
               merce and stunning natural features, it also is marked in
               many places by  severe poverty and  degraded environ-
               mental conditions. In 1999, recognizing the importance
               of the border region to the entire country—and also the
               challenges it faces—former President Bill Clinton issued
               Executive Order 13122 establishing  the Interagency Task
               Force on the Economic Development of the Southwest
               Border:  "The purpose of the Task Force is  to coordinate
               and better leverage existing Administration efforts for
               the Southwest Border, in  concert with locally led efforts,
               in order to increase the living standards and the overall
               economic profile of the Southwest Border  so that it may
               achieve the average of the nation."

               A Border Environment Cooperation  Commission (BECC)
               report describes the region as a  "dynamic network of
               cultural, social, environmental and economic relation-
               ships  between residents of both  countries." Analyses
               conducted by the BECC1 highlight the following U.S.
               Census Bureau  statistics for 36 counties in  the four
               border states (California:  1; Arizona: 4; New Mexico: 4;
               Texas: 27), not counting San Diego  County, which is a
               strong outlier related to economic conditions:

               •  Twenty-three percent of persons are living below the
                  poverty level (national  average: 13.8%);  35 counties
                  are below the national average.

               •  The average  per capita income is $17,433 (national
                  average: $27,334); 35 counties are below the national

               •  The average, median household income is $36,480
                  (national average: $51,914);  all counties  are below the
                  national average.

               •  Individuals under the age of 18 or over  the age of
                  65  average 41 percent of the population (national
  average: 37%); 33 counties are above the national

• Individuals of Hispanic or Latino origin average 68
  percent of the population  (national average: 16.7%);
  all counties are above the national average.

• Individuals over 25 years old who graduated high
  school average 70 percent of the population (national
  average: 80.7%); 32 counties are below the national

• The median value of owner-occupied housing units
  is $132,902 (national average: $188,400); 34 counties
  are below the national average.

The U.S.-Mexico Border Counties Coalition's 2006
report, At the Crossroads:  U.S./Mexico Border Counties
in Transition,2 compared the  U.S. border counties to the
50 states as if these counties were the 51st state of the
United States, and found the following:

• Per capita  income for the  region (excluding San
  Diego, California) would rank 51st; however, personal
  income grew 41.4 percent compared to 29.3 percent
  for the nation.

• The region is second in  incidence of tuberculosis
  and third in deaths due  to hepatitis, which may be
  explained by exposure to  unsanitary conditions exist-
  ing on both sides of the border.

• As a 51st state, southwest border counties would
  rank last in access to health care professionals.
  Hospitals in border counties spend more than
  million annually to provide emergency health care
  to uninsured populations. This is approximately 3
  percent of  all uncompensated costs in U.S. hospitals
  per year.
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

These general statistics clearly indicate a historically
underserved region. An increase in population and
demand for public services, as well as variability in
natural resources, rapid urbanization and increasing
costs associated with addressing these issues have
compounded the need to deal with them in a system-
atic and mutually beneficial way. Despite the ongoing
challenges, as will be documented in this report, the
region abounds with examples of cooperation at the
local, state, tribal and federal levels.

Although the border region is facing a number of issues
that require attention, this 15th report of the Good
Neighbor Environmental Board (GNEB or Board) focuses
on water. The Board's 4th, 8th  and 13th reports also
addressed water, but Board members determined it was
imperative to focus again on this important topic given
current climatic conditions, particularly the extensive
drought within the region, and to offer insights and
recommendations in the context of these current

The Board's mission is "to advise the President and
the Congress on the need for implementation of the
environmental and infrastructure projects (including
projects that affect agriculture, rural  development and
human nutrition) within  the states of the  United  States
contiguous to Mexico." It is hoped that the information
contained  in this report is relevant to individuals in all
sectors who are concerned with water issues along the
U.S.-Mexico border, and that it contributes to policy
deliberations  at local and state levels as well.

This report is focused on  three broad areas: water
supply, water quality and  water treatment. Although
the three are  interrelated, each area is addressed in
a separate chapter that highlights pressing issues and
offers policy recommendations.  In addition, specific
examples are presented in case studies to highlight the
complex realities associated with each area.

Overview of Key Concerns

As noted above, in comparison with other regions
of the United States, and even the border states as
a whole, the population of this region is younger,
has lower levels of educational attainment, and has
lower economic status than populations elsewhere. Of
particular concern for this report and the  United States
is that the population has significant water and water
infrastructure  needs.

In  the U.S. border region, small, rural communities, on
and off tribal  lands, tend to face the greatest needs.
Although 90 percent of the region's population resides
in urban centers, the remaining 10 percent represents
more than 1.3 million people who are a vital part of
the region and play a key role  in agriculture, energy
development and natural resources management. Many
communities lacking  some or all of the basic infrastruc-
ture services, such as clean water, wastewater treatment,
solid waste collection, paved roads, drainage control
and electricity, have been dubbed "colon ias."3

Colonias emerge due to many factors, including urban
renewal in border cities that can force residents outside
the city limits to less expensive land parcels that lack
infrastructure services. In the late 1980s,  it came to light
that hundreds of thousands of  Texas residents in the
border region  lived in such unincorporated communi-
ties. Texas lawmakers enacted  legislation to provide
water and sewer service to colonia residents and to
stop the proliferation of colonias, but the conditions

More than 130 settlements in New Mexico,  some
of which are incorporated communities, have been
officially designated as  colonias. In Arizona,  in addition
to the term colonias, "wildcat subdivision" is used
to describe similar informal communities that lack
adequate infrastructure as a result of spontaneous

The contribution of hundreds of millions  of local, state
and federal dollars to colonias  has led to significant
improvements in the lives of thousands of colonia
residents. A 2010 report by the Texas  Secretary of
State found that the  number of colonias  having access
to potable water, paved access roads and operational
wastewater disposal systems rose from 636  in 2006 to
891 in  2010 (serving  a  total population of more than
194,000 people).3

That same report by the Texas Secretary of  State,
however, found that 45,000 residents living  in 350
colonias in the six largest border counties still lacked
some basic services.3 GNEB Board members have
toured colonias in San  Diego County, California, and
Maverick and El Paso counties, Texas,  in  2005,  2008
and 2012, respectively,  and met with residents  in  New
Mexico in 2011 to observe conditions and hear directly
from colonia residents.

The Board recognizes that water issues in the U.S.-Mex-
ico  border region  are complex and often contentious.
For example, naturally occurring elements such as
arsenic contaminate water supplies even  where humans
have not. In 2004, the  BECC developed  an  Economic

       Impact of Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Funding to
       Selected Border Communities4 to determine the extent to which
       water and wastewater infrastructure improvements create or
       enhance economic opportunities in the community. In terms
       of infrastructure and well-being, the study projected that for
       the five communities studied, $1 million invested in water and
       wastewater infrastructure over 10 years resulted in the following
       overall community economic activity, including direct, indirect
       and induced impacts:

       •  $11.1 million in  private sector investment;
       •  221  new jobs created;
       •  $1.7 million in tax revenue; and
       •  $52.2 million in  goods produced by the private sector.

       A 2002 article by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)5
       reached similar conclusions; however,  not all communities are
       able to afford such investments or are positioned to receive
       such benefits. Especially for isolated rural communities, the
       cost per person of providing centralized water and wastewater
                          services can be prohibitive (see Case Study: Columbus, New
                          Mexico - Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua). The combined effects of
                          inadequate infrastructure,  lack of financial resources and gaps
                          in authority present substantial challenges  and require com-
                          prehensive solutions. Other challenges include multiple water
                          demands from residents, agricultural interests, industrial and
                          commercial entities, as well as environmental conditions such
                          as drought. In its prior reports on water, the Board has called
                          for watershed-based analysis and  management (4th report); the
                          development of a more robust binational water database to
                          provide a baseline for an  integrated, 5-year, cross-border water
                          planning process (8th report); and strengthening government
                          institutions, research efforts and treaty instruments to establish
                          firmer protections of transboundary aquifers based on binational
                          participation (13th report). This 15th report draws on what was
                          presented in those previous reports and is intended to clearly
                          illustrate  improvements, as well as where issues such as rapid
                          population growth,  increasing  water demand and the declining
                          quality of water resources continue to create challenges.
Case Study: Columbus, New Mexico - Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua
The neighboring communities of Columbus,
New Mexico and Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua
are 3 miles apart and share an aquifer that
spans the international  boundary. The aqui-
fer, the Bolson de los Muertos, is located
in a hydrologic  zone recharged by the Rfo
Mimbres from the north and the Rfo Casas
Grandes from the south. Potable water is
supplied by deep wells (800 ft/264  m and
more). Because there are no U.S.-Mexico
agreements governing ground  water, with-
drawal from the aquifer is unregulated; the
lowering of water tables due to insufficient
recharge intensifies the concentrations of
fluoride and arsenic in the aquifer.

Local topographic  relief creates north-to-
south flooding conditions from sheet runoff
during storm events, overwhelming drainage
systems on both sides of the international
boundary. Residents believe that this has
been intensified by building activities
associated with the border  security fence
next to the port of entry; however, flooding
occurred prior to construction  of the U.S.
border security infrastructure. To assure an
equitable balance between  national security
and environmental impact, U.S. officials
accounted for historical  flooding challenges
prior to and during border fence construc-
tion and addressed and quickly resolved
flooding in the affected areas.  Intense
flooding in Puerto  Palomas has led to  the
construction of a concrete masonry unit
wall abutting the international  boundary line
in the Northwest sector of the town.

Both towns have faced challenging condi-
tions for the disposal of wastewater and
have limited revenues with which to provide
physical infrastructure. Pollutants carried
by floodwaters penetrate domestic well
casings and, on occasion, have broken water
mains, causing septic systems to overflow.
Thus,  there are public health risks associ-
ated with direct exposure to sewage and
contamination of water sources, as well as
the presence of naturally occurring minerals.

Both towns have attempted to respond to
high levels of fluoride and arsenic by using
reverse osmosis membrane technology—in
the case of Puerto Palomas, providing
water and central distribution sites where
residents can fill containers, and more
recently in Columbus, through the provision
of centrally treated water in the village
distribution system. With the aid of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) Project Development Assistance
Program (PDAP) funds administered by
the Border Environment Cooperation
Commission (BECC),  both towns have
responded to wastewater issues through the
rehabilitation and expansion of centralized
collection and treatment systems for water
and wastewater. Puerto Palomas also was
certified by BECC and received  an  EPA
Border Environment Infrastructure Fund
(BEIF) grant administered by the North
American Development Bank (NADB) for
its wastewater system. Columbus received
grants and loans from the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's  (USDA) Rural  Development
programs for both its water and wastewater
Although the investments resulted in critical
improvements to the water and wastewater
systems of the two communities, the
abiding issue is one of cost—the cost of
repaying the portion of the loans for which
the towns are responsible and the cost of
ongoing maintenance. The improvements to
the wastewater treatment system in  Puerto
Palomas were in excess of $5,180,000—a
cost borne by EPA, the State of Chihuahua,
the Municipio of Ascension and the village
of Puerto  Palomas. At the time of certifica-
tion by the BECC  in 2000, the population
of Puerto  Palomas was estimated at around
9,000. Local residents calculate that this
had diminished by about 50 percent in
2010, due to changing security conditions,
and this included  the loss of several local
businesses and thus reduced the tax base
below its already  low level. In 2010, the cost
for water and wastewater improvements in
Columbus was more than $2,760,000,  for
a population of 1,430.6 Although the water
rates were increased to help pay the bur-
den, the low average per household income
of residents  translates into a substantial
burden (average per household income
is $16,639 compared with a state average
of $42,742; 53% of the local  residents  are
beneath the poverty level compared to
18.1% of state residents).7 Columbus officially
is designated a colonia by U.S. state and
federal authorities.

Residents  in both  communities have faced
hardship in paying rates for water and
sewer service, and there are dim prospects
for economic improvement in the foresee-
able future.
       The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Water Supply (see Chapter 2)

With regard to water supply in the border region and through-
out the U.S. West, surface water resources were developed
and institutional arrangements established to manage those
resources before ground water resources were developed and
governed. Despite those arrangements, there still often are dis-
agreements over how to share the surface water supply during
times of drought, and there  is a lack of attention in the arrange-
ments to the environmental needs of rivers and bays. There are
even fewer policies and institutions in place to govern ground
water resources.8 Key ground water concerns include depletion
rates that exceed recharge rates; inadequate regulations that do
not consider the multiple jurisdictions responsible for managing
the resource; and public policies that lack long-term goals and
often overlap.

Water Quality (see Chapter  3)

Water quality is important for all life and for the provision of
environmental services. Water quality affects the health of
wildlife habitats and biological diversity. In addition,  it plays an
important role in major sectors, such as tourism, manufacturing
and agriculture, which are  central to border economies. Drinking
water quality is a primary determinant of public health and
sanitation. Residents of communities with inadequate distribu-
tion and treatment  systems may face chronic health  problems
and disease, many of which disproportionately affect young
children, adolescents and the elderly.910

Both surface water and ground water contribute to water quality
in the border region. Declining surface and ground water quality
often stems from the inadequate or  improper management
of human, agricultural and industrial  waste. Decreasing water
availability due to competition among users and reduced
precipitation also affects water quality. Among the critical
factors affecting the border region's water quality are increasing
salinity; runoff of pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides; industrial
discharges; untreated residential effluent; and perhaps most
importantly, inadequately treated wastewater that is  discharged
into stream and river systems, eventually entering ground water
systems. This situation is complicated by cross-border flows of
surface water and the lack of joint management of the more
than 20 ground water basins that span the border and that are
fed from upstream flow.

Water Treatment (see Chapter 4)

Water treatment, defined for this report as  the treatment of
drinking water and wastewater to meet applicable standards,
is costly, and many communities struggle to construct and
maintain water and wastewater treatment systems. Border
communities require first-time services, infrastructure upgrades
and replacement, and the  personnel and resources to manage
the infrastructure they have. Programs that can help ensure
the continued operation of the existing  infrastructure include
enhanced operator training, enhanced pretreatment programs,
asset management and programs to increase the financial,
managerial and technical capacities of border utilities.

Water Governance

Managing the supply, quality and use of scarce border water
resources is a complex challenge. Not only are rivers and
aquifers shared between two countries,  but the two major river
systems, the Colorado and Rio Grande,  originate outside of
the border region. In places such as southern California, water
originates in mountains far from the border and is transported
hundreds of miles.

In  Mexico, surface water and ground water are managed at
the national  level. In the United States,  individual states have
responsibilities for surface water management and jurisdiction
over ground water management (and each state has different
regulatory regimes). States administer water rights,  set water
quality standards (subject to U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency [EPA] review), can develop  large-scale water projects,
and oversee water quality and quantity  issues.

Binational Understandings and Treaties/
Agreements with Mexico

The water supply system  in the four border states is comprised
of two major river systems and includes 20 transboundary
aquifers. Various commissions, agencies, districts and other
entities have been established to help determine how scarce
border water resources can be utilized optimally and their qual-
ity safeguarded. Some, such as the International
Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) whose
precursor was created in  1889, are  more than a
century old  while others,  such as EPA (founded
in  1970) and its counterpart the federal  Mexican
environment agency (founded in 1972; now the
Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Natu-
rales [SEMARNAT]), are more recent. Overall, the
institutional  framework within the United States is
more decentralized than that in Mexico.
The first treaty between the United States and
Mexico regarding water resources was the
Convention of 1906, which governed the interna-
tional reach of the river between El Paso, Texas-Ciudad Juarez,
Chihuahua and Fort Quitman, Texas. The treaty provided for the
United States to deliver to Mexico 60,000 acre-feet per year of
Rio Grande water for agricultural use. The allocation is reduced
in the event of extraordinary drought. Less than 30 years later,
the Convention of 1933 governed the joint construction, opera-
tion and maintenance (O&M) of the  Rio Grande Rectification
The water
supply system
in the four
border states
is comprised
of two major
river systems
and includes 20

 Morelos Dam Downstream View

Project, which straightened, stabilized and shortened the river
boundary in this area.

The Water Treaty of 1944 allocated the waters of the Colorado
and Rio Grande Rivers between the two countries; provided for
the construction of reclamation works on the main channel of
the international reach of the Rio Grande; allowed the newly
created IBWC to give preferential attention to the solution
of border sanitation problems; and provided the IBWC with
authority to apply and interpret the terms of the Treaty with the
consent of the two governments. The IBWC's mission includes
the O&M of Falcon and Amistad  Dams on the Rio Grande;
flood-control projects on the Rio Grande,  Colorado and Tijuana
Rivers; determination of the national ownership of the  waters
of the boundary rivers; water quality monitoring and salinity
control; operation of international wastewater treatment plants;
and mission-relevant studies and planning efforts.

The 1944 Water Treaty was created at a time when the annual
supply of water from the Colorado River was estimated at 17.4
to more than 20 million acre-feet. The recent long-term drought
in  the Colorado River Basin has led the  Lower Basin states in
the United States (Lower Basin  states are Arizona, Nevada and
California;  Upper Basin states are Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and
New Mexico) to discuss voluntary reductions in the allocations
they receive. In 2007, the Secretary of the Interior adopted
guidelines to reduce allocations if Lake Mead reaches critically
low elevations. The 1944 Water Treaty allows Mexico (on the
Rio Grande) or the United  States  (on the Colorado River) to
reduce its deliveries to the other country due to "extraordinary
drought," a term not defined in the treaty, which continues to
create complications. This may  have  profound implications for
the future of irrigation and residential consumption of water
if the current projections of continued drought and reduced
stream flow in the region are realized.11 13

Binational agreements also establish  mechanisms for addressing
water quality. Signed in 1983 by the United States and Mexico,
the Agreement for the Protection and Improvement of the
Environment in the Border Area (La Paz Agreement) provides
the foundation for cooperative environmental efforts. There have
been several implementation programs of the La Paz Agree-
ment, including the Integrated Border Environmental Plan for
the U.S.-Mexican Border (known as the IBEP, 1992-1994) and the
Border XXI program between  1996 and 2000 (a collaborative
effort of EPA, USDA, U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Health
and Human Services, Mexico's Secretariat of Environment,
Natural Resources and Fisheries [SEMARNAP] and Secretariat of
Health, and the U.S. and Mexican  Sections of the IBWC).14 From
2003 through August 8, 2012, the program operated as Border
2012.15 Water quality was a main focus of the Border 2012
program and was addressed through the Water Policy Forum,
Border 2012 Goal 1 (Reduce Water Contamination), and border
infrastructure projects.16 Border 2020 (the successor to Border
2012) will  build on the prior programs with one of five central
goals being to improve water  quality and water infrastructure
sustainability and reduce exposure to contaminated water.17

U.S. Water Agreements Concerning
Border Water Resources

The compacts, federal laws, court decisions and decrees, con-
tracts and regulatory guidelines that establish how the Colorado
River is used and managed are known collectively as the Law of
the River.  Within the United States, the Rio Grande and Colo-
rado Rivers are governed by compacts that ensure deliveries of
waters from those rivers to participating states within the United
States.  Compacts are overseen by Commissions with representa-
tives of each state, chaired by a federal Commissioner.

The Colorado  River Compact of 1922 defined the relationship
between the Upper Basin states, where most of the river's water
supply originates, and the  Lower Basin states, and allocated 7.5
million acre-feet to each basin. The Boulder Canyon Project Act
apportioned the  Lower Basin's allocation  among the States of
Arizona, California and Nevada. The  1948 Upper Colorado River
Basin Compact created  the Upper Colorado River Commission
and apportioned the Upper Basin's allocation among Colorado,
New Mexico,  Utah, Wyoming and  the portion of Arizona that
lies within the  Upper Colorado Basin.

The Rio Grande Compact18 was signed in 1938 and apportioned
the waters of the Rio Grande above Fort Quitman, Texas,
among Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. The Rio Grande
Compact Commission establishes water delivery obligations and
depletion  entitlements for Colorado and  New Mexico. Given the
seasonal fluctuations in climate, compact accounting is conduct-
ed annually and provides for debits and credits to be carried
over from  year to year until extinguished  under provisions of the
Compact.  Accrued credits or debits are an important element of
the compact accounting and negotiations do not always lead to
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

Two additional commissions govern water allocations between
Texas and New Mexico. The New Mexico-Texas Water Commis-
sion, formed as part of a 1991 settlement following a protracted
dispute over water supplies in the El Paso/Las Cruces area,
includes local governments, water utilities, irrigation districts and
universities in El Paso County, Texas and southern New Mexico.
The Commission last met in March 2006.19 The Pecos River
Compact Commission oversees the  Pecos River Compact, which
was established to provide for the equitable distribution of the
waters of the Pecos River, a Rio Grande tributary, between New
Mexico and Texas.

Additional laws and policies governing water supply include
the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974, which
addresses water quality by authorizing  salinity control projects,
including the Yuma Desalting  Plant.

Financial Resources

Maintaining both water supply and quality requires significant
financial investment. Any efforts to improve living conditions and
meet the increased demand on public  services are enhanced
by public financial investment. Resources for managing  water
supply,  as well as watershed protection and conservation
programs, are discussed in greater detail in Chapter 2.  During
the last several years, the ability for the public sector to finance
infrastructure projects and make the necessary investments has
   been affected by the U.S. recession. In the past, small com-
   munities typically sought grant assistance to make their capital
   investments; however, lower revenues to municipal and state
   governments have increased the challenges of funding public
   infrastructure projects.

   Financing in the border region will continue to be addressed  in
   a way that recognizes the differences in how Mexico and the
   United States approach the issues. In Mexico, local financing
   options primarily are limited to federal apportionments; how-
   ever, the opportunity for market financing has potential through
   numerous private-sector financial institutions. In the  United
   States, myriad financing options are  available to municipal and
   state governments, whether it is grant or debt financing (public
   or private).

   Border communities and states are eligible for the resources
   available to any U.S. entities, such as the State  Revolving
   Funds (SRFs), and a number of special programs, as shown in
   Figure 1, provide resources to them, including grants  to assist
   communities that cannot afford loans. At the community level,
   the options available depend on whether or not the community
   is incorporated, and whether or not  it is  located on  tribal
   land. Although  U.S. tribes are  eligible for Border Environment
   Infrastructure Fund (BEIF) financing, for example, the BEIF also
   works in partnership with the tribes to provide resources through
   the Tribal Border Infrastructure program.
    Figure 1. Programs That Provide Resources to Border Communities
                                                  including Mexico, NADB loans and
                                                  CAP, federal and state grants
    BECC/NADB - Border Environment Cooperation Commission/North American Development Bank
    CAP - Community Assistance Program
    CDBG - Community Development Block Grant
    EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    FS - Forest Service
    HHS/IHS - Department of Health and Human Services/Indian Health Service
    HUD - Department of Housing and Urban Development
NRCS - Natural Resources Conservation Service
RUS - Rural Utilities Service
SMART- Sustain and Mange America's Resources for Tomorrow
SRF - State Revolving Fund
TBI - Tribal Border Infrastructure
USDA - U.S. Department of Agriculture
WCFS - Water Conservation Field Services and Water

NADB has
financed an
$1.326 billion in
projects through
loans and EPA
BEIF grants.
The North American  Development Bank

The North American Development Bank (NADB) and its  sister
institution, the BECC, were created under the auspices of the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to address
environmental  infrastructure issues in the U.S.-Mexico border
region. NADB was created with an initial investment of $450
million, divided in equal parts between the U.S. and Mexican
governments, and receives additional funding through the  BEIF,
as described above. It is authorized to serve  communities in
the U.S.-Mexico border region, from the Gulf of Mexico  to the
              Pacific Ocean (100 km and 300 km from the U.S.
              and  Mexico borders, respectively). Under its
              charter, NADB is authorized to finance  projects
              that will prevent, control or reduce environmental
              pollutants or contaminants; improve the drinking
              water supply, or protect flora and fauna, so as
              to improve human health; promote sustainable
              development; or contribute to a higher quality of
              life.  In this  context, NADB may finance projects,
              including but not limited to water, waste  man-
              agement, clean and renewable energy, air quality,
              industrial and hazardous waste, and energy
              efficiency. In addition, under its charter, NADB
              is authorized to make loans to both public and
private sector borrowers operating  within the United States and
Mexico. Any project, regardless of community size or project
cost, is eligible for financing and other forms of assistance from
NADB, if it meets certain eligibility criteria.

Through its loan program, NADB finances a portion of the
capital costs of projects. In addition to its loan  program, NADB
also provides and administers grant financing to help make
environmental  infrastructure projects more affordable for border
communities. The Community Assistance Program (CAP), funded
with NADB-retained earnings, attempts to offset the reduc-
tion in BEIF funding and offers grant financing to support the
implementation of projects sponsored  by public entities  in all
environmental sectors eligible for NADB financing.20 In 2012,
11 projects (four U.S. and  seven  Mexican) were selected to
receive funding that will exceed $4.25 million.21 NADB is limited,
however, in the amount that it can  set aside each year by the
size of its lending portfolio and the need to maintain financial

To date, NADB has financed an estimated $1.326 billion in
environmental  infrastructure projects through  loans and EPA-
funded BEIF grants.22 As noted, however, the population of the
border region and its infrastructure needs continue to grow. In
addition, existing infrastructure continues to age and requires

Several potential options for expanding NADB's reach include
subsidized lending, a revolving loan fund and refinancing of
debt. NADB funds its lending with proceeds of debt that it
issues in the open capital markets. Although NADB maintains a
high credit rating (Moody's, AAA; S&P, AA+), it has capital costs.
It also must cover the additional requirements of its operations,
reserves and CAP funding from its interest earnings. Therefore,
NADB must receive assistance to provide lower  interest rates
to the creditors. As interest rates have decreased in the last
two decades, finance officers in all types of entities, public and
private, have sought to refinance their debt to provide savings
in  cash flows that allow them to invest in either operations or
capital needs.

The U.S.  Environmental  Protection
Agency  (EPA)

In  1997, EPA began  providing funding to the U.S.-Mexico
Border Water Infrastructure program,  supporting technical
and financial assistance from the BECC Project Development
Assistance Program (PDAP) during project planning and design,
and construction financing and oversight by NADB through its
BEIF. The PDAP is available for public water and wastewater
infrastructure projects identified for funding opportunities
through  a  program-specific prioritization process.
                                                                      Wastewater Treatment Facility View
          The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                           Indian Health Service
    Figure 2. U.S. Appropriations to U.S.-Mexico Border Infrastructure Program
                                                                                  I  ii  ii  ii  ii  m  ii
          1994 1995  1996 1997  1998 1999 2000  2001  2002  2003 2004  2005 2006  2007 2008  2009 2010  2011  2012  2013

         Source: BECC Development Assistance Programs Fact Sheet, June 2012.
The BEIF offers grant financing exclusively for the implementa-
tion of high-priority municipal drinking water and wastewater
infrastructure projects located within 100 km of the U.S.-Mexico
border. The BEIF has been particularly important in providing
affordable financing, including a blend of grants and loans to
projects in  Mexico. With leveraged funding  from the Mexican
government, primarily in the form of grants,  it has provided
for major infrastructure  projects in Tijuana, Mexicali, Nogales,
Ciudad Juarez,  Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros. These projects
have had highly positive impacts on border ecology. Decreased
federal funding, as shown in Figure 2, has limited the BEIF's

Due to a lack of data, it is difficult to estimate the need for
financing for border water and water infrastructure projects. The
BECC uses two approaches. First, the cost of eligible applica-
tions is compared to what is actually funded, which is shown in
Figure 3. In 2011  to 2012, BECC-NADB received applications
for about $800  million,  yet BEIF had only $10 million available
for appropriation.  Of the 200 eligible projects, only 28 were
selected to receive funds during the initial award process.
Second, the BECC estimates the costs of replacing all decentral-
ized infrastructure in the U.S.  border region  with centralized
infrastructure. Based on that approach, unmet border financing
needs are estimated at $9.928 billion.

Funding through EPA's  Border Water Infrastructure program
does not support  supply projects and is limited to drinking
water quality and  wastewater collection and treatment projects.
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF),23 however,
offers some drinking water supply project assistance. Eligible
DWSRF projects include storage reservoirs and reservoir repair,
rainwater harvesting, water conservation, well drilling, supply
conveyance and source water protection.  DWSRF funding also
has decreased in 2012.
EPA's Tribal Border Infrastructure (TBI) program funds high-priority
projects submitted by tribes whose reservations meet certain
criteria. Projects are selected through a competitive process; the
last request for proposals for this program was issued in 2010.
EPA's Clean Water Indian  Set Aside (CWISA) program funds high-
priority projects by utilizing data from the Indian Health Service's
(IMS) Sanitation Deficiency System (SDS; see section on Depart-
ment of Health and Human Services-Indian Health  Service).

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA plays a critical role in protecting and sustaining the
nation's water supply by providing expert research and science-
based knowledge, tools and resources to farmers, ranchers,
consumers, educators and others working on and affected by
water issues.

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)24
increases the productivity and quality of water on agricultural
lands through a series of conservation programs. In May 2012,
NRCS announced a new Water Quality Initiative committed
to improving  impaired waterways in Arizona. NRCS will make
financial and  technical assistance from its Environmental Quality
Incentives Program (EQIP) available to eligible farmers and
ranchers in the San  Pedro watershed in Cochise County.  Other
grant and cost-share programs include Agricultural  Management
Assistance (AMA), Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) and
the National  Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS),
among others. This  assistance will help producers  implement
conservation  practices that will reduce agricultural  return flows
into the river watersheds  through irrigation water management
and improved irrigation systems.

NRCS conducts Colorado River  Basin Salinity Control activities
primarily under the authorities of EQIP in the upper watershed.

   Figure 3. Application Requests for Funds from BECC-NADB
    f 150
i  100

135 Eligible
— Applications
$200 M

                     $673 M
                     $1130 M
                     $794 M
                                                   140 Eligible
                                                   $520 M
                                                                         140 Eligible
                                                                         $811 M
                                                         160 Eligible
                                                         $758 M
                            I   -Bll
                                                                                                    0    0
                    2005/2006                  2007/2008                2009/2010
                                                     Total Value of Applications
                                     Projects Selected
$141 M
$252 M
$249 M
$193 M
$163 M
$107 M
                  By-Passed       Under Development
 $62 M
        Source: BECC Development Assistance Programs Fact Sheet, June 2012.
NRCS also offers assistance to private landowners, including
Native American tribes, to reduce salt mobilization and transport
to the Colorado River and its tributaries.

USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) provides water and waste
disposal facilities and services to low income, rural communities
whose residents face significant health risks. Funds have been
set aside for eligible projects that benefit members of Federally
Recognized Native American tribes and colonias. Water and
waste disposal systems  can obtain grants for up to  100  percent
of the cost to construct basic drinking water, sanitary sewer,
solid waste disposal and storm drainage systems to serve the
residents of colonias.  For example, USDA's Rural Development
RUS  has funded and co-funded border water infrastructure
projects such as the Avenue B and C Colonia in Yuma County,

There are several Water and Environmental  Programs  (WEP)
such as the SEARCH Grant program and the Emergency
Community Water Assistance Grants (ECWAG), which  are not
available exclusively to colonias but are often a very good fit for
these communities. Also within WEP,  Congress has traditionally,
via legislation,  mandated funds to benefit federally  recognized
Native American tribes. In past years, this generally has been
                                                          funded at approximately $16 million. These grants can fund 100
                                                          percent of project costs but are limited to $1 million per project.

                                                          The 2008 Farm Bill  included provisions for Substantially
                                                          Underserved Trust Areas (SUTA) and gave the RUS new tools
                                                          to finance  improvements in water and  sewer  infrastructure in
                                                          underserved tribal communities. The USDA partners with EPA
                                                          and BEIF for research and development on nearly all rural water
                                                          infrastructure projects that it funds.

                                                          Additionally, the grants provided to EPA's PDAP, administered
                                                          by BECC, have allowed facility planning and  environmental
                                                          clearance to be obtained,  facilitating the approval of construc-
                                                          tion funds  from the USDA program. This program also provides
                                                          an analysis of what  the community can afford by using a blend
                                                          of grants and low interest  loans based on the affordability of
                                                          infrastructure (typically the blend is 10% loan and 90% grant).

                                                          Department  of Housing and  Urban
                                                          Development (HUD)

                                                          Since 1974, HUD has administered the Community Develop-
                                                          ment Block Grant (CDBG)  program to  provide communities
                                                          across the  United States with resources to address a wide  range
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

of unique community development needs. The CDBG program
provides annual grants on a formula basis to local governments
and states.  The National Affordable Housing Act of 1990,
section 916, required Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California
to set aside 10 percent of their FY 1991 CDBG funds to meet
the needs of residents in colonias relating to water, sewage and
housing. For subsequent years, HUD was directed to set the
level (up to 10%) for each of the border states. With  one excep-
tion, HUD has  required Texas, New Mexico and Arizona annually
to set aside 10 percent of their CDBG funds for colonias, while
California has set aside between 2 and 5 percent of its CDBG
funds during those years.

The lack of stable funding and capacity among organizations
serving the  colonias has been recognized as a major barrier in
the effectiveness of federal programs. The Border Community
Capital Initiative ("Border Initiative") is a recent collaborative
effort among three federal  agencies—HUD, the  Department
of the Treasury Community Development Financial  Institutions
Fund and USDA Rural Development—aimed at overcoming that
barrier.26 The Border Initiative's goal is to assist local financial
institutions  in improving their capacity to raise capital, increase
lending  and boost investment in affordable housing,  business
lending  and community facilities in the chronically underserved
and undercapitalized U.S.-Mexico border region.  Specifically, it
will provide direct investment and technical assistance to com-
munity development lending and investing institutions that focus
on affordable housing, small  business and community facilities
to benefit the  residents of colonias. Although the program is
small, it will offer up to $200,000 to nonprofit and/or tribal
financial institutions serving colonias for such projects.

Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS) - Indian Health Service (IHS)

The Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction (SFC) within
IHS administers a  nationwide SFC program that is responsible
for delivering environmental engineering services and sanitation
facilities to American Indians. The IHS established the SDS as
part of a larger database called the Sanitation Tracking and
Reporting System (STARS).27 The SDS is an inventory of the
sanitation deficiencies, including water, sewer and solid waste
of Native American homes and communities. Within the border
region, IHS area offices serve  Native American individuals,
families, communities and health programs, with  the exception
of two Texas tribes, which have no area office service.

IHS offices,  in  consultation with the tribes in their areas,
identify  sanitation  deficiencies, update them annually in the
SDS, and report them to Congress as required by the Indian
Health Care Improvement Act27 for the purposes of determin-
ing infrastructure funding per the Clean Water Act of 1977.28
The IHS evaluates all of the needs reported by each  tribe and
determines  which  needs can  be corrected by projects or project
phases that meet the current eligibility policies of the program.
 The IHS also determines project feasibility. Projects that exceed
 the agency's maximum per home cost are deemed infeasible,
 but still are reported on SDS. The list represents one of the
 largest efforts undertaken by any federal agency to catalog
 infrastructure needs in  Native American country. EPA uses this
 list to implement the CWISA program  and award infrastructure
 funds for wastewater-only projects.

 Bureau of  Reclamation

 The Bureau of Reclamation,29 an agency of the U.S. Department
 of the Interior, has a number of projects or initiatives that have
 supported  water supply projects in the U.S.-Mexico border
 region. One such effort is the Water Conservation  Field Services
 Program, which  includes:

 •  Development of improved irrigation scheduling for freshwater
   conservation in pecan fields of El Paso County, Texas (see
   Case Study: The City of El Paso, Texas).

 •  Modernization of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District irriga-
   tion management system  in New Mexico through installation
   of  new software for more  timely and precise water decision

 •  Measurement of excess irrigation water to  help irrigators
   reduce inefficiencies in the Imperial  Irrigation District, Califor-
   nia, through the Tailwater Education program.

 •  Promotion of water conservation in the Yuma Irrigation
   District, Arizona, by upgrading to more efficient pumps to
   promote water conservation.

 •  Demonstration of an automated  surface irrigation system
   that uses data on soil moisture and  inflow  measurements
   with computer models to  optimize shutoff  times for irrigators
   and reduce surface runoff (University of California, El Centra
Vegetable field and irrigation equipment

• Development of soil suitability guidelines for irrigating with
  water of elevated salinity in El Paso, Texas, to assist users of
  reclaimed water.

Since 2010,  the Bureau of Reclamation has funded  13 Sustain
and Manage America's Resources for Tomorrow (WaterSMART)
grants in close proximity to the  U.S.-Mexico border. In total,
these grants are expected to save more than 6,500 acre-feet of
water annually at a combined federal cost share of more than
$3.5 million. The grants cover a variety of projects and activities,
including retrofitting irrigation district check gate  structures to
increase efficiency, lining or enclosing irrigation canals, installing
digital control systems to improve accuracy of measurements,
and effluent reuse.

The San Diego Area Water Reclamation program is authorized
under Title XVI of P.L 102-575 to receive  up to $172,590,000
in federal funding, or  25 percent of the total project cost (with
75% of the project cost to be provided by non-federal project
sponsors). As of September 2011, this program is 58  percent
complete, and it features construction of water reclamation
plants and related  infrastructure. The use  of reclaimed water in
southern California results in decreased dependency on potable
imported water, including water from the  Colorado River, an
important source to both the United States and Mexico.

Water Management  in the  Four U.S.
Border States

The four U.S. border states differ in their approaches  to water
management. Arizona, California and New Mexico manage
surface water quantity and quality in separate state agencies.
Texas, by contrast, manages water  quality and quantity within
the same agency but conducts water planning in  a  different
agency.  Texas and  California treat ground water withdrawal
as a  private  property right and do not regulate it (although
Texas does allow for regulation  of ground water in ground
water conservation districts), and Arizona and New  Mexico, in
response to  disputes and threats of depletion, established legal
mechanisms to do so. Arizona, California and Texas also have
delegated authority from  EPA to implement the National Pollut-
ant Discharge Elimination System program and regulate water
reclamation.30 All four states receive resources from the  SRF.

                        The Arizona Department of Water
                        Resources (ADWR) was established
                        in 1980 to administer the provisions
                        of the Arizona Groundwater Manage-
                        ment Code. ADWR also negotiates
                        with external political entities to
                        protect Arizona's Colorado River
                        water supply, oversees the use of
surface and ground water resources under state jurisdiction,
and represents Arizona in discussions and negotiations of water
rights with the U.S.  federal government and Native American
tribes. ADWR collects and analyzes data on water levels and
water quality characteristics in support of these activities. The
Department also inspects dams and participates in flood control
planning and  floodplain management to prevent property dam-
age, personal injury and loss of life.

The Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA or Water Bank) was
established to increase utilization of the state's Colorado River
entitlement and develop long-term storage credits for Arizona.
It "banks" unused Colorado River water to be used in times of
shortage for Arizona. These water supplies benefit municipal,
industrial and Native American users along the Colorado River.

The Arizona Department of Environmental  Quality (ADEQ) Water
Quality Division is responsible for protecting and enhancing
public health and the environment by ensuring safe drinking
water and reducing the  impact of pollutants discharged to  sur-
face and ground water. Responsibilities of the Division include
investigating complaints and violations of Arizona's water quality
laws,  issuing permits to  protect from point sources of pollution,
and regulating wastewater discharge and treatment. The ADEQ
Office of Border Environmental  Protection was established to
address transboundary issues that impact Arizona's environment
and its citizens.31 The Office focuses on improving water quality
in Arizona border communities through collaboration with
programs such as the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 Environmental
program, the  Arizona-Mexico Commission and the Border
Governors Conference.

Arizona  manages the resources  in its SRF through the Water
Infrastructure Finance Authority  (WIFA), an  independent state
agency authorized to finance drinking water, wastewater, waste-
water reclamation and other water quality facilities and projects.
WIFA offers borrowers below-market interest on loans, flexible
funding  timelines, no mandatory loan amounts, and financial
incentives for "green" projects.  WIFA also offers a planning and
design grant program to prepare water and wastewater facilities
for project construction.


                         California's Department of Water
                         Resources (DWR), within the state's
                         Natural Resources Agency,  has broad
                         powers to study, plan and implement
                         projects to meet California's water
                         needs and manage its water resourc-
                         es. DWR operates and maintains the
                         California Water Project, provides
                         dam  safety and  flood control services,
assists local water districts in water management and  conserva-
tion activities, and promotes recreational opportunities. DWR
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

also administers water bonds that provide financial assistance for
various water projects.

The California Department of Public Health, Office of Drinking
Water has many responsibilities, including the regulation and
improvement of public water systems, promotion of information
on water recycling and conservation,  provision of funding
opportunities for water system  improvements, and other

The California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) over-
sees all  state boards, departments and offices that are charged
by state law to protect specific areas of the environment and/
or regulate specific activities. Within Cal/EPA, the State Water
Resources Control Board (State Water Board) has responsibility
for statewide water quality policy and protection of both surface
and ground waters.  It also oversees surface water rights and can
adjudicate ground water issues.

The State Water  Board oversees nine state Regional Water
Quality Control Boards (Regional Water Boards), which are
charged with the  protection of water quality and carrying out
regional water quality control programs. The State Water Board's
Division of  Financial Assistance (DFA) administers the  imple-
mentation of the Water Board's financial assistance programs,
such as  the SRF,  including  loans and grants to fund water
projects. DFA also administers the Water Recycling program and
the State's Wastewater Treatment Plant Operator Certification

The California-Baja California Border Environmental program is
a collaborative effort of Cal/EPA, other California state agencies,
Baja California and Tribal Nations located along the border
region. California  has cooperative environmental agreements
with Mexico, one  of which covered the development and imple-
mentation of industrial wastewater monitoring and pretreatment
along the California-Mexico border.33

                         New Mexico
  9                      The  New Mexico Interstate Stream
  *-ri_  ^.f^-wi  - ,	j
                         Commission and New Mexico Office
                         of the State Engineer are companion
                         agencies charged with administering
                         the state's water resources. They have
                         responsibility for the supervision,
                         measurement, appropriation and
                         distribution of nearly all surface and
ground water in New Mexico, including streams and  rivers that
cross state  boundaries.

The New Mexico  Environment Department (NMED) promotes
a safe, clean  and  productive environment throughout the
state. The NMED is comprised of five sections, one of which
is the Water and Waste Management Division, which primar-
ily addresses water quality issues. The New Mexico Office of
Natural Resources Trustee represents the state's interest in the
recovery of damages incurred by natural resources on state land
under two federal statutes, the Water Pollution Control Act and
the Comprehensive  Environmental Response, Compensation and
Liability Act  (CERCLA).

The New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission is the state
water pollution control  agency that oversees state compliance
with the wellhead protection and sole source aquifer programs
of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Water Trust  Board  recommends water projects, including
water delivery to end users, implementation of federal Endan-
gered Species Act collaborative programs, and water recycling
and conservation programs, among others.3435 Funding may be
provided in the form of grants or loans from the Water Project
Fund, which receives appropriations from  the state legislature.

The NMED Border Environmental Justice  Liaison works with
New Mexico border communities and serves as the main point
of contact for Border 2020. Subcommittees along the border
address water issues, one having supported efforts such as the
development of  a geographic information systems (GIS) map-
ping tool for the Mimbres Basin,36 and the Roadmap - A Draft
Model for Collaborative Operation  of Transboundary Watersheds

                              The Texas Commission on
                              Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is
                              the state's official environmental
                              agency. It oversees water rights
                              and sets state water quality
                              standards to protect public
                              health, recreation and aquatic
                              life. Interstate compacts are
managed by the TCEQ as well. It also has broad oversight
for surface water and ground water quality, as well as for safe
drinking water management and enforcement. More recently,
TCEQ has been charged  by the Texas Legislature with establish-
ing  minimum environmental flows38 for Texas' major rivers and
bays. Chaired by the TCEQ, the Texas Groundwater Protection
Committee coordinates ground water quality protection activities
among state agencies and the Texas Association of Ground-
water Districts. The Committee also documents ground water
contamination in its annual Joint Groundwater Monitoring and
Contamination Report.

The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) is responsible for
developing a State Water Plan through regional water planning
groups.  It also conducts research on aquifers, water availability
and environmental flow needs, as well as  periodic surveys of
ground water use. The TWDB also works with 16 Groundwater

          Management Areas to establish future desired conditions and
          the volume of water that will be available for future use. Other
          responsibilities  include providing technical and financial assis-
          tance, such as administering the Drinking Water State Revolving
                        Fund for Texas. TWDB also administers the
                        Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP),
                        which provides water and wastewater funding for
                        colonia programs in Texas.
The rural nature
of many tribal
creates special
challenges for
those seeking to
provide water
and wastewater
                       The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD)
                       monitors water quality with an emphasis on pro-
                       tecting the health of aquatic life and its habitat.
                       It also is responsible for wetlands protection and
                       for investigating fish kills or any other instances
                       of pollution that harm or threaten wildlife.
                       The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation
                       Board is responsible for controlling and reduc-
          ing state agricultural nonpoint source and water pollution. It
          administers federal grants for projects that control agricultural
          nonpoint sources of water pollution, such as fertilizer runoff.

          Water  Resources  and U.S. Border Tribes

          The U.S.-Mexico border region is home to 26 U.S. federally
          recognized Native American tribes, ranging in size from 9 to
          17,000 members, and to indigenous communities in Mexico.
          Persistent water-related  issues face the communities on both
          sides of the international boundary, including safe drinking
          water and  proper wastewater treatment and disposal, as well as
          particular forms of pollution such as the ammonium perchlorate
          that was identified as a  concern in the GNEB's 8th report.

          The rural nature of many tribal communities creates special
          challenges for those seeking to provide water and wastewater
          services. To address gaps in service, tribes can access resources
          from  EPA as well as the IHS, as noted above.  Beyond these,
          there are a number of programs that support agricultural
          production and other forms of land conservation management
          that give special recognition to the position of tribes. Other
          programs provide  information that can be  used by tribes, such
          as the Pollutant  Release and Transfer Register, which provides
          county-level analysis of toxic releases by type and by producer,
          and the Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision Information System
          (CADDIS),  which tracks the  causes and effects of pollution in
          water resources.

          Tribes participate in border environmental  programs, such as
          Border 2020, through their  offices of environmental protection
          and management. Where possible, the tribes share information
          and resources, and those with greater infrastructure support
          those tribes without such infrastructure. A representative of the
          Tohono O'odham Nation, for example, has served as coordina-
          tor of border activities for all of the Arizona border tribes.
          Of concern to the border tribes, however,  is the low level of
support that they received from Border 2012.39 Although they
are eligible to receive funding from the BEIF, tribes have not
submitted proposals through that program, working instead
with EPA through the Tribal Border Infrastructure program. From
2006 to 2010, that program received 44 proposals totaling
$28.7 million. During that time only $4.3 million was available,
which provided  funding for only 14 tribes.39

Interdependence in U.S. Governing

In  addition to the political  divisions described above, regional
and  local governments also play a role in U.S. water manage-
ment. As noted, border communities access public financial
support through both state and federal agencies. Local entities
involved in water management may include  irrigation districts
and  soil and water conservation districts, publicly regulated
utilities such as  public water supply systems, and domestic water
users. The responsibilities of supply planning and regulation
often overlap.

An example of this overlap is ground water extraction for natural
gas, which can negatively affect the environment (e.g., fish) and
farmers. Over-allocation to agricultural customers can lead to
low river flows and sediment accumulation, which reduces the
size of the river channel and can result in catastrophic flooding
during storms.

Tensions regarding water along the border have  been ampli-
fied  by many factors, such as dramatic increases  in population,
periodic drought in some of the major basins, the absence of
legal frameworks governing ground water, and disagreements
interpreting compact or international agreement  surface water
requirements. In recent years,  conflict has arisen  over a variety
of issues, including transboundary  sanitation problems and water
deliveries to Mexico and U.S. users during drought. In some
cases, these conflicts have led to litigation.  Successful manage-
ment requires working across physical, social and political
                                                                       Aerial landscape of tailing ponds for mineral waste
          The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

boundaries with integrated watershed and basin-wide manage-
ment, which is emerging in U.S. border states.

Integrated management of water for use  in economic and
energy development, public health, food  production and
environmental conservation depends on the application of
appropriate frameworks that recognize relationships among
uses. Frameworks include conceptual  models  that identify
key attributes of water resources, such as basin water volume
budgets, reservoir capacities and natural flood regimes, and link
them to both user groups and usage. Relationships among users
then can be identified, including the timing of water needs and
usage rates. The emerging field of ecosystem services also can
contribute to gaining an understanding of natural flow variation
and species needs and  other basin management needs.

A key requirement of successful integrated management is the
availability of reliable and consistent data. The 8th report high-
lighted the need for data  collection efforts, and some progress
has been made; however, inadequate or missing data increases
the potential for misunderstanding and hinders collaboration.

Critical Issues in 2012

As already noted, water has been the topic of several prior
GNEB reports, but the Board decided to  focus its attention on
water supply, quality and treatment because of the need to
highlight water problems in the region. The above sections have
addressed the tremendous need for financial resources within
border communities. The following sections summarize some
additional critical issues.

Rapid Urbanization

The 10 states along  the U.S.-Mexico border have experienced
substantial population growth in the past 50 years, growing
from a population of just more  than 33 million in  1960 to nearly
90 million in 2010.40 Almost 14  million of those residents live
within the border  region. In the six Mexican states alone (Baja
California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and
Tamaulipas), the population has grown from 5.5 million  in 1960
to 19.9 million in 2010.40That constitutes  nearly a quadrupling
of the population  in  50 years. The northern parts of Mexico,
especially those closest to the international border, grew with
the development of cross-border trade, including establishment
of the Maquiladora program. This program allows for the duty-
free importation of U.S. manufacturing parts and components
into Mexico. Following assembly of the manufactured parts,
the finished  product(s) are delivered back to the  United States.
The maquiladora industry increased the demand  for labor in
the border region, attracting hundreds of thousands of people
seeking employment, mostly to urban centers. The growth in
population has greatly exceeded the expansion  of supporting
infrastructure and  services.
Much of the increase in population on the U.S. side of the
border has been driven by the tremendous growth on the
Mexican side. In addition, within the  United States, a warm
climate and new employment opportunities, including defense,
high technology, construction and agribusiness, have drawn
residents from the rust belt to the south and southwest. The
four U.S.  border states have been among the fastest growing
in the country in the past 50 years, especially in the major
metropolitan areas, like El Paso,  Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico;
Tucson, Arizona; and San  Diego, California. This trend also
is true for newly emerging metropolitan areas, such as along
the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the cities of McAllen,
Harlingen  and Brownsville.

This population  growth has led to a continued increase in
demand for water for residential, commercial and  industrial use
even with  the implementation of water conservation measures.
This growth of water demand in  some cases has led to conflicts
between urban  and agricultural water users because many of
these areas also are heavily irrigated  for agricultural  use. Finally,
the widespread  urbanization has disrupted natural flows and
aquifer recharge while increasing impervious cover, leading to
local impacts such as flooding.


Dramatic storm  events can produce flood conditions that  can
overwhelm local catchment and  diversion systems and lead to
extreme stormwater and sediment runoff conditions that flood
communities on  both sides of the border. This flooding can
compromise the buffers between residential water resources and
domestic waste  disposal in shallow well  areas.

Energy and Water

There is a close nexus between energy production and  use and
demand for water. Water loss  in  a distribution system requires
additional pumping and therefore increases energy costs.  Water
and wastewater utilities tend  to be the single largest energy
consumers in any community, and their energy bills represent
the second largest expense. The GNEB  14th report also noted
the potential for the development of renewable energy resourc-
es to consume large quantities of water. As electricity generators
install larger capacity infrastructure and expand service delivery,
the permitting process that governs water release, water with-
drawals, water storage and heat  loading also must be updated
to address the increase in load and the  eventual effluent.

Of special concern along the Texas border, specifically in the
counties of Dimmitt, Edwards, Frio, LaSalle, Maverick, McMul-
len, Webb and Zavala, has been the  recent rapid expansion
of shale gas development. By all measures—permits, drilling
starts and  gas production—activity has increased exponentially
since 2010. This is exemplified by 1,010 drilling permits being

issued in 2010, 2,826 issued in 2011, and 1,452 issued between
January and April of 2012 for the Eagle Ford shale.41 Although
recent studies suggest that the total amount of water utilized
for hydraulic fracturing ("tracking") wells for oil and gas devel-
opment is still relatively small compared to agricultural and
municipal water use in the region, the local impacts on aquifers
and surface water use can be significant and represent a new
water demand  in the area. Studies suggest that a single "frack"
job in the Eagle Ford shale in  Texas can require between 6 and
8 million gallons of water.42-43

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) does not have an active,
extensive ground water level monitoring network near the U.S.-
Mexico border in Texas. Adding such a network of ground water
level monitoring in these counties would  be extremely beneficial
due to the recent oil and gas exploration activities there. As an
example, there has been a recent increase  in the use of ground
water associated with oil and gas exploration and production in
Maverick and Webb counties,  in particular associated with the
Carrizo Wilcox  and Yegua Jackson aquifers. Yet,  relatively few
data are available in these counties.  These  counties also lack
ground  water conservation districts. Data from USGS wells in
nearby Dimmitt County indicate declining ground water levels in
the Carrizo Wilcox. The magnitude of the water use associated
with oil and gas production - coupled with existing agricultural
and industrial needs - could have dramatic  impacts on ground
water resources in  the areas that currently are not monitored
or understood. By  enhancing data collection in  those areas,
the USGS could add to the information presently being  used
by stakeholders, local ground water conservation districts and
the Texas Water Development Board in their water planning


As of October  2012, most of the U.S.-Mexico border region is
experiencing drought conditions.44 Long-term climate models for
the region  predict  increased temperatures,  decreasing precipita-
 Increasing drought conditions with unpredictable rainfall patterns
tion and shifting of rainfall patterns in coming years. These
factors,  combined with the potential for reduced snowpack
within the basins of rivers that traverse the border region, may
contribute to decreased stream flows as well. These conditions
can be monitored with the NIDIS.45 For example, low precipita-
tion and above-normal temperatures meant that by March 2012,
less than 50 percent of the average snowpack remained from
1981 levels in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains,  the location of
the headwaters of the  Rio Grande.4647 Local concern over the
intensity of natural events, particularly temperature fluctuation
and precipitation, has increased over the last decade.4849

Rising temperatures mean greater evaporation of water into
the atmosphere, increased runoff and a shift in  precipitation
from snowfall to rainfall, resulting in less water for storage in
reservoirs.50 Seasonal weather patterns that previously supported
reliable  rainfall seasons, the  reliable snowpack, and sufficiently
gentle rainfall that allowed for more percolation into the soil,
less runoff and lower sediment loads have changed in ways that
require greater planning  by  local communities.5152

Continued shortfalls can  result in competition among users, the
potential for greater public health  risks from insect- and fungal-
based diseases, reduced recharge of ground water systems
and lessened environmental flows, habitat loss,  and increased
nonpoint source pollution. A recent study focused on climate
change  in the Arizona-Sonora border region cited aging or
inadequate water-delivery infrastructure, over-allocation of water
resources within the region,  and  the location of poor neighbor-
hoods in flood-prone areas or other at-risk areas as  key factors
increasing the vulnerability of urban water users.53

Water Conservation

Water conservation is an integral component to enhancing
and prolonging the supply of surface and ground water in any
part of the United  States. This is particularly vital in the border
region, given the arid nature of much of  the border, scarce
resources and the great demands on water, especially in the
agricultural and municipal sectors. Some  water conservation
projects, specifically in  the agricultural sector, can  produce sig-
nificant water savings and help address water supply obligations
(see Case Study: Coachella Valley Water  District - Coachella
Canal Lining  Project). The following are some agricultural water
conservation  practices:

• Concrete lining of earthen canals;

• Replacement of canals with pipelines; and

• Use of improved systems  of irrigation (e.g., drip irrigation).

Water conservation is an effective strategy for managing
municipal water as well, and  conservation practices can be
passive, incorporating more  efficient appliances or technologies
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

  Case  Study:  Coachella  Valley Water District - Coachella Canal  Lining  Project
   Designed to conserve 30,850 acre-feet of
   water that is lost annually through seep-
   age from the canals, the Coachella Canal
   Lining Project will line about 35 miles of
   the Coachella Canal and help California  stay
   within its annual 4.4 million acre-feet per
   year (AFY) constraint under the Colorado
   River Compact. It  also will  assist the federal
   government in implementing the San Luis
   Rey Indian Water  Rights Settlement Act,
   which settles water rights claims for the
   stakeholders in San Diego County, Califor-

   The project proposal was evaluated by the
   Bureau of Reclamation and by the Coachella
Valley Water District, the federal and state
leads, respectively. Project alternatives were
evaluated through environmental impact
assessments. The key environmental mitiga-
tion strategies for this project included
ensuring Salt  Creek receives 623 AFY, large
mammal mitigation strategies, revegetation
of the riparian habitat, restoration of 352
acre-feet to desert dry wash, the creation
of a 17-acre marsh, 50 acres of freshwater
pond and fisheries mitigations, and trans-
porting fish into the new canal.

The canal has 1,300 cubic feet per second
capacity. The  project uses concrete lining
and covers about 35 miles of the canal.
The original contract for this project was
$71.2 million with a final contract cost of
about $88 million. Project construction was
completed in 2006,  and that November,
the newly lined portion of the canal was
put into service. A total of $120 million was
spent on this project, which included con-
struction and environmental expenditures.
The environmental mitigations continue,
including water supply development, marsh
creation, the 50-acre fish pond, and other
strategies described in the environmental
analyses, and are nearing completion.56
such as low-flow shower heads, or involve education, regulation
or programs to reduce water use. Examples of municipal water
conservation include:

• Xeriscaping, a way to save water by using creative landscap-
  ing that replaces high water use plants and grass with
  landscaping that requires little or no watering;

• Irrigating less;

• Installing low-flow shower heads and toilets; and

• Implementing practices in cities to locate and address water
  loss in the distribution system.

Municipal water conservation has additional  benefits, such
as greater energy savings.  For example, in recognizing these
benefits, the City of Tucson, Arizona, currently offers cost-
match incentives for installation of active and passive rainwater
harvesting features on private property, with rebates of up  to
$2,000 available.54 In addition, Tucson has adopted  a Rainwater
Harvesting Ordinance that requires new commercial facilities
to meet 50 percent of their landscape water demands using
harvested rainwater achieved through implementation of a  site
water harvesting plan. Since its adoption in 2008, the Commer-
cial Rainwater Harvesting Ordinance has received  attention as a
model for cities and communities across the United States  that
are considering similar ordinances.55

New Policy and Management  Initiatives

In the face of the many challenges associated with water
resources in the border region, new policy and management ini-
tiatives are emerging. For example, in 2010, the Colorado  River
Joint Cooperative Process was formalized in Minute No.  317,
Conceptual Framework for U.S.-Mexico Discussions  on Colorado
River Cooperative Actions (a Minute is a binding agreement of
the IBWC, United States and Mexico,  intended to implement
                 a boundary or water treaty). That Minute commits the United
                 States and Mexico, through the IBWC, to work with stakehold-
                 ers to address potential areas of cooperation, including  water
                 conservation, identification  of new water sources, improvement
                 of hydraulic and hydrologic system operations, and identification
                 of water for environmental  purposes. The goal is to conclude an
                 IBWC Minute for a comprehensive  package of joint cooperative
                 actions to benefit both countries.

                 Outline of  the Remainder of  the

                 The information  provided in this chapter sets the  background
                 against which U.S.-Mexico border water and water infrastructure
                 issues will be discussed. Chapter 2  covers water supply,  describ-
                 ing existing infrastructure and programs that support border
                 water supply projects, current and projected water supply
                 shortages, and the unique challenges of working in transbound-
                 ary watersheds and basins.  Chapter 3 addresses water quality,
                 discussing the importance of water quality, management and
                 regulation of border water resources, and  threats to those
                 resources. Chapter 4 describes water treatment, focusing on
                 both drinking and wastewater. Chapter 5 begins with a summary
                 of the principal findings and recommendations of previous GNEB
                 reports on water, and concludes with a list of recommendations.

                 The 1,952 mile U.S.-Mexico border includes thousands of
                 communities, some lying in floodplains where surface and
                 ground water are in regular contact with one another and  others
                 hundreds of feet atop the nearest aquifer.  In many ways, each
                 community faces its own unique  challenges and has developed
                 distinct strategies for  addressing  them. At the same time,  the
                 border communities share many  characteristics. It is impossible
                 in a report such  as this to discuss each situation or circum-
                 stance; therefore, the report focuses on broad patterns,  using
                 case studies in each chapter to illustrate how those patterns are
                 experienced in actual communities, programs and institutions.



    nsuring that border communities
    and ecosystems have an
adequate water supply is critical to
the future well-being and economic
growth of the region. Along the
U.S.-Mexico border—which includes
vast areas of desert, heavily utilized
surface water and ground water
resources, and water sources that
are shared by two nations—water
management issues are paramount.
This chapter discusses  the existing
water supply infrastructure in U.S.
border communities, federal programs
that support border water supply
projects, current and projected
water supply shortages, and the
unique challenges of working in
transboundary watersheds. This
chapter will highlight regions where
local residents and leaders or state
water planners have identified
particular concerns about future water
supply. Although the Good Neighbor
Environmental Board (GNEB or
Board) considered and finds merit in
various water supply alternatives, such
as expansion of water reclamation
activities, gray water reuse and
rainwater harvesting, it does not
explore  those types of activities in
this report because the federal role
often is limited.


               Border Water Supply System

               The Water Supply System in the four border states is
               comprised of two perennial river systems, the Colorado
               and Rio Grande,  several smaller river systems, and 20
               transboundary aquifers.

               Surface Water System

               The Colorado River and Rio Grande watersheds are
               the principal rivers supplying water to the border. In
               addition, the State of California has a major transbound-
               ary transfer of water to the San Diego area from the
               Sierra Nevada Mountains. Other border river watersheds
               include the Tijuana, New, Santa Cruz and San Pedro.

               As shown in Figure 4, spanning parts of Arizona,
               California,  Colorado, New Mexico,  Nevada, Utah and
               Wyoming,  the Colorado River Basin is one of the most
               critical sources of water in the western United States.
               Figure 5 shows that the natural water supply of the
               Basin is highly variable year to year. The ability  to
               capture water Basin-wide during years when supply is
               greater than demand  made it possible to meet most
               of the resource needs throughout the 20th century and
               into the 21st. The water supply is  managed by  a system
               of dams and water conveyance projects that provide
               flood control and river regulation,  help meet water
               demands, generate hydropower, enhance ecosystems
               for a variety of species, and offer innumerable recre-
               ation opportunities.

               The operations of these projects are guided by the
               series of federal laws, court decisions and decrees,
               contracts, an international treaty with Mexico, and
               regulatory  procedures collectively known as the "Law
               of the River." One of the most recent elements added
               to this "law" is the 2007 Interim Guidelines for Coordi-
               nated Operations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead (see
               Chapter 1).
These operational guidelines, in place through 2026,
address the operations of these two reservoirs through
a full range of situations, including drought and low
reservoir conditions. They also establish measures for
addressing shortages in the Lower Basin,  including a
process for the Basin states to consult about further
measures if Lake Mead's elevation  reaches a  critical
level. Mexico water deliveries set by the 1944 U.S.-
Mexico Treaty are not impacted by these  guidelines.

The Secretary of the Interior, acting through the Bureau
of Reclamation, is the Watermaster for the Lower

Figure 4. Colorado River Hydrologic Basin
Source: Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study,
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                 Water Quality
Figure 5. Moisture Sources to the Colorado River Basin
Source: U.S. Department of the Interior. U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2004-3062, Version 2,
      August 2004.
Colorado River from Lee Ferry, Arizona, to the southerly
international border with Mexico. As Watermaster, the
Secretary is authorized to manage and operate the
Lower Basin of the Colorado River under the "Law of
the River." In managing water issues, the Secretary
collaborates with the Lower Division States of Arizona,
California and Nevada; the Republic of Mexico (through
the International Boundary and Water Commission
[IBWC]); water and power utilities; and many stakehold-
ers representing agricultural, economic, environmental
and other interests.

The San Pedro River flows north from Cananea, Sonora
to the Sierra Vista-Fort Huachuca area  in Arizona, and
supports a highly diverse riparian community that is
a National Conservation  Area  on the U.S. side of the
border. The Santa Cruz River,  located in the Ambos
Nogales region, begins in Arizona, flows south  into
Sonora, and then returns northward  into Arizona;
along the river is the Nogales International Wastewater
Treatment Plant, which produces effluent that dominates
water for approximately 20 km downstream.57

The Rio Grande Basin provides water for irrigation,
households, the environment and recreational uses in
Colorado, New Mexico and Texas, as well as Mexico, as
                        shown in Figure 6.58 Above
                        El Paso, Texas, flow in the
                        Rio Grande is controlled
                        largely by releases from
                        Caballo Reservoir located
                        below Elephant Butte  Dam.
                        Downstream from El Paso to
                        Fort Quitman, flow consists
                        mainly of treated municipal
                        wastewater, irrigation return
                        flow and stormwater runoff.

                        The Pecos and  Devils  Rivers
                        in Texas are the  principal
                        U.S. tributaries of the  Rio
                        Grande. Both of these rivers
                        flow into Amistad Reservoir
                        on the Rio Grande, which is
                        located upstream of Del Rio,
                        Texas, and Ciudad Acufia,
                        Coahuila. The Pecos River
                        flows southward through
                        eastern New Mexico, where
                        it  is  impounded  by  Red  Bluff
                        Reservoir at the Texas-New
                        Mexico border.  In Mexico,
                        major tributaries include the
Conchos River, which flows to the Rio Grande at Presi-
dio, Texas, and  Ojinaga, Chihuahua; the Salado River,
which flows into Falcon Lake downstream  from Laredo,
Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas; and the San Juan
River, which enters the Rio Grande in  the Lower  Rio
Grande Valley of Texas and Tamaulipas.

Below Falcon Dam, the Rio Grande Basin  tapers to a
relatively narrow band bordering the Rio Grande and
varying  in width from 10 to 30 miles as it forms a delta.
In  Hidalgo and Cameron counties, Texas, at the extreme
lower end of  the Basin, the river is confined between
levees and the Basin  is generally less than  a few miles
in  width. This system of levees and the associated
drainage channels were constructed by the United
States and Mexico to control flooding of the extensive
agricultural and urbanized areas along the river in the
Lower Rio Grande Valley.59

Groundwater System

Data on ground water systems can be difficult to
acquire. In 2006, the  U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Aquifer
Assessment Act authorized funds for, and directed  the
establishment of, a program to study transboundary
aquifers between the two countries.

            Water Supply
  Figure 6. Rio Grande Basin
 Rio Grande Basin
                                       LI N  I  T E D
                                     .  S T A T E S
                                        .   •
                      MEXICO    JL
                        ^rWM*'-1      MiLu.,

  Source: International Boundary and Water Commission.
Figure 7 shows that the major ground water aquifers in the
Colorado River are the Colorado Plateau aquifers. They are
the Uinta-Animas, Mesaverde, Dakota-Glen Canyon and
the Coconino-De Chelly aquifers. The lower Colorado River
is comprised of the Basin-Range Basin-fill aquifers that are
unconsolidated sand and gravel aquifers.

• Uinta-Animas Aquifer: In the San Juan Basin, water recharges
  this aquifer in the higher altitude areas that nearly encircle the
  Basin. During 1985, about 28,000 acre-feet of ground water
  was withdrawn from the aquifer.

• Mesaverde Aquifer: Ground water discharges from the aquifer
  directly to streams, springs and  seeps by upward movement
  through confining layers and into overlying aquifers, or by
  withdrawal  from  wells. The natural discharge areas generally
  are along streams and rivers, including  the Colorado River.

• Dakota-Glen Canyon Aquifer: The potentiometric surface for
  this aquifer has been defined for much of the northern part
  of the aquifer. Ground water flow directions inferred from the
  potentiometric surface indicate several, major recharge areas.
  Ground water flow in this aquifer is toward major discharge
  areas along several rivers.
  Figure 7. Colorado Plateau Aquifers

                                                                                  orado Plateau Aquifers
  Source: International Boundary and Water Commission.

• Coconino-De Chelly Aquifer: The aquifer is recharged in sev-
  eral areas, but discharges mainly to the Colorado and Green
  Rivers. Water in this aquifer generally flows northwestward
  toward a discharge area near the mouth of the Little Colorado
  River. In the Grand Canyon, a series of springs issuing from
  the Mississippian  Redwall Limestone discharges water derived
  in part from this aquifer. Fractures and solution channels in
  the Redwall Limestone and the rocks separating the Redwall
  Limestone from the Coconino Sandstone provide conduits for
  the ground water. Similar processes affect the ground water
  flow system elsewhere in the vicinity of the Grand Canyon.

The  U.S. government gave the Upper San Pedro Partnership the
task of achieving a sustainable yield of the regional aquifer by
2011.60 A particular water management challenge for the Santa
Cruz Aquifer is its shallow microbasins, located  mainly in the
most heavily used parts  of the aquifer, which experience annual
water level changes of up to 15 meters, resulting in limited
ground water storage  capacity.60

Figure 8 shows that the major ground water systems east of
the Colorado River Basin along the U.S.-Mexico border are the
Mimbres Basin, and the  Mesilla  Bolson, Hueco  Bolson, Edwards-
Trinity and Gulf Coast Aquifers.
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                               Water Supply
 Case Study: The Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (TAAP)
 The United States and Mexico share water
 resources from several basins that span the
 international border; however, there is no
 treaty regarding the management of ground
 water from shared aquifers. To expand
 knowledge about these water resources
 systems, a binational collaborative effort has
 been under way to evaluate priority aquifers
 in the border region. Scientists from  both
 countries have been working together to
 share data and knowledge, and thereby
 develop an enhanced integrated under-
 standing of the aquifer systems'  current and
 projected future conditions. Such collabora-
 tion is important because it ultimately
 can prevent undesirable outcomes, such
 as ground water depletion, elimination of
 streamflow or threats to riparian ecosystems
 and water quality.

 In 2006, the U.S. Congress passed, and the
 President signed into law, the U.S.-Mexico
 Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act (U.S.
 Public Law 109-448). The Act authorized
 $50 million over 10 years and directed
 the Secretary of the Interior to establish a
 program to study transboundary aquifers
 between the two countries. The TAAP is a
 joint effort of the U.S.  Geological Survey
 (USGS) and the States of Arizona, New
 Mexico and Texas, through their universi-
 ties' Water Resources  Research Institutes
Mexico's collaboration in the program
was formalized in 2009, through a Joint
Report signed by U.S. and Mexico Principal
Engineers of the International Boundary
and Water Commission (IBWC). The IBWC
is providing the framework for U.S.-Mexico
coordination and dialogue to implement
the studies. Key participants from Mexico
include the National Water Commission
(CONAGUA), the Mexican Geological Service
and the University of Sonera's Department
of Geology.

A total of four priority aquifers were identi-
fied initially in the U.S. federal legislation.
Two of the priority aquifers, the Hueco
Bolson and the Mesilla, are located in the
general vicinity of the El Paso-Ciudad
Juarez border region. For a variety of
reasons, activities in this region were
focused on  the Mesilla/Conejos-Medanos
Aquifer at the New Mexico-West Texas-
Chihuahua border. At the Arizona-Sonora
border, binational scientific assessment and
stakeholder efforts have been under way for
the other two legislatively identified priority
aquifers, the San Pedro River Basin and  the
Santa Cruz  River Basin Aquifers. The aquifer
assessments address various scientific
considerations such as geology, geophysics,
hydrology, water quality, water demands
and other essential aquifer characteristics.
The IBWC's Joint Report, Regarding the
Joint Cooperative Process for the TAAP,
summarizes details of the program, such as
roles and responsibilities, funding,  adher-
ence to the boundary and water treaties,
and procedures for use of information that
is obtained through the TAAP process.

The USGS and the WRRIs prepared an
interim report to Congress in 2012, as
required by the enabling legislation. U.S.
and Mexico studies of the Mesilla Basin/
Conejos Medanos Aquifer were completed
in 2011. Collaborative work has progressed
on the study of the two Arizona-Sonora
aquifers with binational scientific reports
projected for completion in early 2013.

The TAAP was funded  through line-item
appropriations in the U.S. Department of
the Interior's budget in fiscal years (FY)
2008-2010 for a total of $2 million to sup-
port work in all of the  priority aquifers. No
U.S. funding was provided in  FY 2011-2012.
The Mexican government has financed
studies that were performed for the TAAP
in Mexican territory. Although Mexico's
National Water Commission has indicated
a willingness to support continued work on
the program, binational activities will cease
in 2013, unless the  United States dedicates
matching funds.
Mimbres Basin: Bounded by the Continental Divide and
the Lower Rio Grande Basin, this basin extends south into
northern Chihuahua. The only perennial stream reach in the
basin is the Mimbres River, which becomes ephemeral by the
time it reaches the City of Dem ing, New Mexico.

Mesilla Bolson Aquifer: This aquifer lies in the  Rio Grande Val-
ley near El Paso, Texas, and extends into New Mexico where
it is used primarily for agricultural and municipal supply.61
The Rio Grande flows through the Mesilla Basin, forming a
floodplain 60 miles long and several hundred feet to 5 miles

Hueco Bolson Aquifer: Extending east of the Franklin
Mountains in  El Paso County, Texas, this aquifer is bounded
by the Hueco Mountains, the Diablo Plateau and the Quitman
Mountains. The aquifer also travels a short distance north
into New Mexico and south into Mexico. The Hueco Bolson,
along with the Mesilla Bolson Aquifer, provides much of the
municipal water supply for the City of El Paso, depending on
the time of year and availability of Rio  Grande water.61

Edwards-Trinity Aquifer: This aquifer extends from Central
to West Texas. Springs issuing from the aquifer form the
                   headwaters of several eastward and southerly flowing rivers.
                   Aquifer thickness is as much as 1,000 feet. All known water
                   wells produce water from the Salmon Peak and  McKnight
                   formations. San  Felipe Springs in Val Verde County issues
                   from the Edwards and is the primary municipal supply source
                   for Del Rio, Texas.63

                 •  Gulf Coast Aquifer: This aquifer exists in an irregular band
                   along the Texas coast from the Texas-Louisiana border and
                   into Mexico. Historically this Aquifer has been used to supply
                   water in Cameron, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, eastern Starr and
                   southeastern Webb counties. The aquifer is brackish in many
                   areas, although  there are significant quantities of ground
                   water available.  Water levels have remained relatively stable
                   over the years.59

                 Understanding  and  Managing Border
                 Water Supply

                 Developing and maintaining adequate water supply in the
                 border region requires both physical and  institutional  infrastruc-
                 ture. The former includes a complex system of dams/reservoirs,
                 treatment plants, pumping stations, canals and other distribution
                 infrastructure. In this report, distribution infrastructure  also

            Water Supply
Figure 8. Rio Grande and Coastal Aquifers
             Rio Grande and Coastal Aquifers
                  ^k Cot-vado                  ttfr*
                                        II N  I
Source: International Boundary and Water Commission.

includes policies and plans, as well as the organizations and staff
needed to carry them out.

Water is critical for environmental flows that sustain ecosystems
and support animal populations upon which people's livelihoods
and well-being depend. Environmental flows have been defined
by an international group of experts as the "quantity, timing
and quality of water flows required to sustain freshwater and
                                 estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihood and well-being
                                 that depend on these ecosystems."64 Managing for environmen-
                                 tal flows is intended to address a broader range of purposes
                                 than management focused strictly on water supply, energy,
                                 recreation or flood control, as shown in Table 1. Water manag-
                                 ers sometimes attempt to adjust the quantity, timing and quality
                                 of environmental flows to accommodate human uses while also
                                 maintaining the essential processes required to support healthy
                                 river ecosystems. In the border region, establishing environmen-
                                 tal flow programs requires binational, multi-sector collaboration
                                 and commitments. Such programs depend on up-to-date data
                                 on a variety of  environmental conditions and a transparent
                                 process for sharing them.

                                 Even with  proper planning, increased demand for water in
                                 the border region, coupled with environmental factors such as
                                 drought, has strained the water supply. One effort to better under-
                                 stand future water supply and demand under different scenarios is
                                 the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study.65

                                 Key to planning and management is the availability of reliable
                                 and consistent data related to raw water transmission and
                                 storage, water treatment and distribution, wastewater convey-
                                 ance and  treatment, flood control and drainage, coastal water
                                 management, and the measurement/monitoring of precipitation,
                                 water quantity and water quality (surface and ground water).
                                 Such data are severely limited in the  U.S.-Mexico border region.
                                 The GNEB has  recognized this gap and elaborated on specific
                                 data needs in its prior reports. The 8th GNEB report, Water
                                 Resources  Management on the U.S.-Mexico Border-Region,
                                 included as the  second  recommendation: Develop and sign
                                 formal U.S.-Mexico border region water resources data agree-
                                 ments. Such agreements should support the collection, analysis
                                 and sharing of compatible data across a wide range of uses
                                 so that border region water resources can be managed more

                                 Various U.S. federal entities, including the U.S. Geological
                                 Survey (USGS),  the  U.S. Section of the IBWC (USIBWC), the
                                 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA),
Table 1. Example of Human Benefits Supported by Environmental Flows
    Service Category
      Life Support
       Medicinal plants
       Flood mitigation
Prevention of saltwater intrusion
    Recreation and tourism
   Biodiversity conservation
 Previously healthy ecosystems
Floodplain inundation; Flows supporting riparian inundation
Floodplain inundation; Flows supporting riparian inundation
Floodplain inundation; Flows supporting riparian inundation
               Instream flow regime
                   Site specific
                Natural flow regime
                Natural flow regime
Source: Modified from Richter, B. D. (2010). Re-thinking environmental flows: From allocations and reserves to sustainability boundaries. River Research and
       Applications, 26:1052.
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                     Water Supply
   Case  Study: Colorado River Basin Water Supply  and Demand Studyl
   The Bureau of Reclamation of the U.S.
   Department of the Interior currently is
   conducting a Colorado River Basin Water
   Supply and Demand Study to assess future
   water supply and demand imbalances
   during the next 50 years, and develop and
   evaluate opportunities for resolving these
   imbalances. The study began in January
   2010, and soon will be completed. The
   purpose of the study is to inform  planning
   and to provide technical information for
   future studies and activities, rather than
   providing information to be used directly in
   decision making.

   The historical Colorado River water supply
   is highly variable, but there is a definite
   increasing  trend in water use. The study
   attempts to determine what the water sup-
   ply versus  use trend will look like  during the
   next 50 years. There are many factors that
   can affect  this outcome, including storage
   capacity, hydropower capacity, demand
   alterations and population changes, among
                          others. These challenges require innovative
                          and creative solutions.

                          There are four study phases: (1) water
                          supply assessment, (2) water demand
                          assessment, (3) system reliability analysis,
                          and (4) development and evaluation of
                          opportunities. The first two phases inter-
                          relate in that approaches and scenarios
                          involving supply and demand must be
                          identified. Outcomes from phase three can
                          indicate the locations of large imbalances
                          and assist in the development of opportuni-
                          ties in phase four.  For phase one, there are
                          different scenarios to project water supply
                          that take into account multiple climate
                          change scenarios and a paleoclimatology
                          tree ring method that allows the observa-
                          tion of water supply in the Basin from 1,200
                          years ago to assist in forecasting future
                          water supply. For phase two,  there are
                          four scenarios  being studied:  (1) current
                          projected, which examines the current
                          patterns (i.e., "business as usual") and the
                                             projected outcomes; (2) slow growth, which
                                             anticipates slow growth based on economic
                                             efficiency; (3) rapid growth, which observes
                                             the possible outcomes from an economic
                                             resurgence; and (4) enhanced environment,
                                             which examines the possible outcomes
                                             given expanded environmental awareness
                                             and stewardship.

                                             The base concept of phase three is to
                                             understand baseline reliability. Follow-
                                             ing this, the state of the system  will be
                                             simulated for the next 50 years with and
                                             without various options/strategies. Phase
                                             four must include a broad range of options
                                             and strategies. More than  140 options were
                                             submitted by the public regarding  water
                                             management, and there are four broad cate-
                                             gories that encompass the majority of these
                                             options: increase water supply, reduce water
                                             demand, modify operations, and governance
                                             and implementation. The researchers will
                                             package the various options and develop
                                             and evaluate representative options.
and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); state
agencies;  and numerous county, city and local  entities man-
age the measuring and monitoring of water resources in the
U.S.-Mexico border region. This measuring and monitoring
provides information that helps water managers and the public
understand climate trends, the ecological health of rivers, public
                                           health impacts, national ownership of waters, water deliveries to
                                           agricultural and municipal users, unauthorized withdrawals, flood
                                           control, long-term aquifer trends for both supply and quality,
                                           and surface water-ground water interactions, among others.
                                           Even  with a broad range of activity already under way, Table  2
                                           shows a number of needs identified by the GNEB.
Table 2. U.S.-Mexico Border Water Measurement and Monitoring Needs
 National Streamflow
 Information Program

 Border Governors
14 gauges in the Rio
Grande Basin Border

Improve gauging station
IBWC and Mexico's
National Water Commission
(CONAGUA) provide timely
information to state and
local governments when
reservoir management poli-
cies are changed.

RiverWare and Aquarius
modeling software.
Achievement of the five
critical federal needs for the NSIP

Gauging network is used to
account for the national ownership
of waters of the boundary rivers in
accordance with the water treaties
between the United States and
Mexico, and for flood control.

Implementation of appropriate
safety measures.68
Modernize dated water accounting
procedures, making the IBWC
water accounting more efficient
and transparent.
                                                                     Additional Information
IBWC operates and maintains more than 60 gauging
stations on the Rio Grande, Colorado River and tributaries,
with each Section of the Commission in charge of the
stations in its country. Most stations use satellite telemetry
to provide near real-time flow data.
In 2011, the USIBWC made a significant investment by
purchasing equipment, software and training. It also
secured replacement components for the aging telemetry
network and invested in new bank-operated technologies,
such as Hornet Plus cableways and remote-controlled
boats, to allow stream measurement to be conducted
safely from the U.S. bank. In addition, the USIBWC
secured a commercially available hydro-database manage-
ment solution that will revolutionize the processing of
Commission water quantity and quality data.

            Water Supply
Table 2. U.S.-Mexico Border Water  Measurement and Monitoring Needs (continued)
 USGS; National
 Weather Service
                                                                    Additional Information
 National Park
 Service (NPS)
 Department of
 Transportation; City
 of El Paso, TX
More dense surface water
data collection network.
Additional stream gauging
data collection.
Extensive ground water level
monitoring network near
the U.S. border in Texas.
Funding for the proposed
expansion of the current
rain gauge data collection
network of one site in the
El Paso area.
To provide information regarding
To meet its needs near Big Bend
National Park at sites along the
Pecos and Devils Rivers in Texas
and at three sites along the Rio

Beneficial due to recent oil and
gas  exploration activities near the
border that may deplete water

Project has been discussed for
4 years without being funded.
The USGS has been working with the NWS to identify
communities with needs that have not yet been successful
in securing funding to support enhanced local data collec-
tion networks. The NWS maintains a list of potential sites
where additional flood information is needed or requested
by local communities.

Water  Supply  Challenges

Current or Projected Shortages and

Each of the four U.S. border states has engaged in long-term
water planning to some  extent, although their methodologies
vary. State  plans provide projections for future water supply
and demand, as well as  provide insights into the relationship
between water supply and economic issues, indicating how
lack of a reliable long-term water supply can inhibit develop-
ment. These plans also demonstrate that a commitment to
ensuring that future generations have access to  water requires
a suite of approaches, from conservation to new infrastructure
development. Though the state plans tend to focus on  human
needs, there is growing  recognition in the border region of the
importance of environmental flows as well. The following regions
are highlighted  because state water planners have identified
particular concerns about future water supply.

The 1980 Arizona Groundwater Act identified and  designated
five Active  Management Areas (AMAs) that rely  heavily  on
mined ground water. The Act also identified and designated  two
Irrigation Non-expansion Areas (INAs) within which restrictions
are placed  on increasing the number of irrigated acres.  The
Santa Cruz and  Tucson AMAs include portions of the border
region near Nogales and Tucson, and  in those areas develop-
ers must demonstrate an adequate water supply for 100 years
before new development can be permitted. Arizona also has
authorized  counties outside of AMAs to require  developers of
new subdivisions to demonstrate access to an adequate water
supply. In the border region, Yuma and Cochise counties have
adopted this policy. Most of the Douglas  Basin was designated
                                          as the Douglas INA, and it has been determined that there is
                                          insufficient ground water to provide a reasonably safe supply
                                          for irrigation. The Douglas Basin  has been severely over-drafted
                                          since the late 1940s, and a decline in water levels in wells  has
                                          been observed.69

                                          The Arizona Department of Water Resources also has conducted
                                          surveys of water providers to get their perceptions  of water
                                          issues in their region. A 2004 survey of water providers in the
                                          Lower Colorado River and Southeastern Planning Areas70 identi-
                                          fied the following as moderate or major concerns:

                                          •  Inadequate storage capacity to meet peak demand.
                                          •  Inadequate well capacity to meet peak demand.
                                          •  Inadequate water supplies to meet current demand.
                                          •  Inadequate water supplies to meet future demand.
                                          •  Infrastructure in need of replacement.
                                          •  Inadequate capital to pay  for infrastructure improvements.
                                          •  Drought-related water supply problems.

                                          The 2009  California Water Plan Update for the South Coast,
                                          which includes coastal regions of California from the Los Ange-
                                          les area to the Mexican border, projects significant  increases
                                          in water demand. Taking into consideration the current trend
                                          analysis in the report (one of three possible scenarios analyzed),
                                          urban water demand could increase by 1.645 million acre-feet
                                          by 2050 and agricultural demand would drop by 320,000

                                          For California's Colorado River region, which  includes the
                                          eastern portion of San  Diego County (a border county), all of
                                          Imperial County (a border county) and portions of two non-
                                          border counties, urban  demand shows an increase  of
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                 Water Supply
1.15 million acre-feet while agricultural water demand is
expected to decrease by 850,000 acre-feet due to a reduction
of irrigated acreage and conservation.

According to the New Mexico Lower Rio Grande  Regional
Water Plan (2003), demand is projected to increase from
495,000 acre-feet in 2000 to a range of 519,000 to 572,000
acre-feet by 2040. The Water Plan notes that "if ground water
development expands much  above the current levels, the Rio
Grande will not be able  to continue replenishing the ground
water and this  will result in ground water mining in the Rincon
Valley and Mesilla Basins. Because the river cannot be isolated
from the  Rincon Valley and Mesilla Basins, it will continue to
replenish the basins, which in effect  robs the river of water.  This
is water that should be in-stream flow for local agricultural users
as well as meeting compact delivery obligations to Texas users
and Mexican Treaty water users."71

The Water Plan also notes that the  Mesilla and Hueco Bolson
aquifers are shared by New Mexico, Texas and Mexico, which
generates uncertainty related to long-term management and
viability of the  aquifers, especially because there has been
significant usage by Texas and Mexico. The report expresses
concern about the poor  long-term viability of the Hueco Bolson,
both due to water supply and water quality problems. It should
be noted, however,  that El Paso Water Utilities performed a
peer-reviewed  study in 2004  that concluded "with continued
reliance on surface water when it is available along with contin-
ued conservation, there  is an adequate supply of fresh ground
water for 70 years or more."72

The Water for Texas 2012 State Water Plan (for Far West Texas,
Region E), which has most of its population centered in  El Paso,
Texas, has identified an additional 226,569 acre-feet per year
of water needed by 2060. Conservation is projected to account
                 for 50 percent of the additional volume, and the plan indicated
                 that an investment of $842 million is required for strategies to
                 provide additional water. The plan also notes significant unmet
                 irrigation needs  in this desert region.

                 In Region M, the Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, the
                 State Water Plan identifies a need for an additional water supply
                 of 609,906 acre-feet per year by 2060, requiring an investment
                 of more than $2 billion. Agriculture accounted for 93  percent
                 of the region's total water needs in 2010, but the  management
                 regime prioritizes municipal and industrial water uses  over irriga-
                 tion. The report notes  that no economically feasible strategies
                 have been identified to meet a significant portion of the region's
                 irrigation needs. Possible strategies include acquisition of water
                 rights through purchase, desalination of seawater and brackish
                 ground water, irrigation conveyance system conservation,  and
                 construction of storage weirs on the Rio Grande.

                 More detailed approaches to assessing water needs and
                 availability73 are  being  developed  to meet the greater range of
                 users and complexity of water use. Measures of consumptive
                 use, instead of ground and surface water withdrawals, can
                 be used to evaluate farm efficiency efforts and the potential
                 for urban gray water reuse. To address the seasonal nature
                 of water needs,  monthly (instead of annual) assessments of
                 availability and use can be  conducted.74 Even though complex,
                 environmental flows (see above) can be developed and tested
                 to support environmental resources, recreational values, flood
                 protection, and  public  and  environmental health. The Texas
                 Legislature took the first step in addressing environmental flows
                 in 2007, when it passed House Bill 3 and Senate Bill 3,  which
                 require the Texas Commission on  Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
                 to adopt environmental flow standards for the river basin  and
                 bay systems in the state.
   Case Study:  Environmental Flows in Texas7
   In 2007, the Texas Legislature passed
   House BIN 3 and Senate Bill 3 (SB 3), which
   referred to the environmental flow process
   in Texas. SB 3 specifically was related to the
   development, management and preservation
   of the water resources of the state. SB 3
   established a nine-member Environmental
   Flows Advisory Group from Texas. This
   group then appointed the Statewide Sci-
   ence Advisory  Committee (which has the
   objective to provide advice)  and the Basin
   and Bay Area Stakeholder Committees
   (which represent many interests, including
   agriculture, cities, industry, environment
   and so forth). Each stakeholder committee
   appoints an Expert Science Team for its
   environmental system.

   According to the schedule established by
   SB 3,  the Expert Science Team was given
1 year to develop an environmental flow
regime analysis and recommend envi-
ronmental flow regimes. The stakeholder
committees then would have 6 months
to review and develop recommendations
to submit to the Texas Commission on
Environmental  Quality (TCEQ).

After submission of recommendations to
the TCEQ, each stakeholder committee and
Expert Science Team  must develop a work
plan. As of August 3, 2012, three stake-
holder groups  had  submitted work plans.
The TCEQ examines the recommendations
and work plans, and considers them in
context of the  Texas Water Code, Section
conduct three separate rulemakings for
different regions. For the Rio Grande, the
Rio Grande estuary and the Lower Laguna
Madre, the rulemaking is scheduled to be
adopted by September 2013. The various
Rio Grande committees established pursu-
ant to SB 3 have been meeting since 2011.

SB 3 is an adaptive management process.
The TCEQ may alter an environmental flow
standard or environment flow set-aside
through a rulemaking by following a sched-
ule set by the Commission. The TCEQ may
not alter a standard more than once every
10 years unless the work plan for that area
allows it. Information on group activities
and progress in all of the basins is available
at the TCEQ website.
For implementation of the rulemaking
requirements of SB 3, the TCEQ will

                  Water Supply
Case Study: Impact of Off-Reservation Water Use on Tribal Land
Note: This recent case study highlights the complexities affecting water supply Involved In an off-reservation Impact that depleted
tribal water. Because this case currently Is In litigation, names and details will not be disclosed In this account
A community drinking water system adja-
cent to a Native American Reservation had
a permit from the state to provide water
to its community residents. The drinking
water operator decided to sell  water for
a construction project off-reservation at a
location of considerable distance from both
the water system and the Native American
Reservation. The construction project
demanded several hundred thousand gal-
lons of water per day for  construction. The
tremendous  use of water  depleted wells on
the reservation  (as well as those of nearby
off-reservation residents), affecting public
drinking water system wells,  as well  as
private domestic wells.

The tribe and off-reservation residents
appealed to the water system operator
and owner to cease excessive pumping
that was depleting water  resources,  but
the operator continued to sell water to the
construction project. The  tribe  and other
residents appealed to the county. The
county investigated and issued an order for
the water company to cease pumping and
selling water. The water company ignored
the order to cease and continued to deplete
the surrounding wells.
Off-reservation residents appealed to the
tribal government and stated their belief
that the tribal government had more
authority than off-reservation residents to
get the water company to cease pumping.
Due to the proximity to the border of both
the reservation and the water company
that was pumping water, domestic wells
and public water systems on both sides of
the border were affected by this excessive
pumping. The tribal government appealed
to the  Bureau of Indian Affairs  (BIA), the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the
proponent of the construction project).

The Environmental Assessment for the con-
struction  project had not specified where
water would be obtained for construction.
All the federal agencies to which the tribe
appealed claimed that they had no author-
ity to  become involved or to remedy the
situation. The tribe was informed that it
had no authority in tribal court to issue a
cease and desist order to the water com-
pany because the water  company was not
located on the reservation, even though  its
actions were affecting reservation residents.
The tribe was advised that its only recourse
was to request an injunction in federal
court, at great expense to the tribe, and
with no guarantee that the water pumping
would be curtailed.

The county issued several cease orders to
the water company but did  not succeed
in halting the sale of water.  The wells on
the reservation became severely depleted,
and the tribe had to supplement residents'
drinking water at an expense to the tribe.
Tribal businesses also suffered a loss of
water and had to purchase water off-reser-
vation to keep their businesses operating.

Many tribal communities have suffered
severe water loss from similar situations.
If a project is permitted to proceed with
construction under a Categorical Exclusion
or an Environmental Assessment, there is no
process for a tribe to comment on the pro-
posed project to insist that  the proponent
of the project  identify the water sources
to be used for construction, or to request
a limit on the amount of water that can be
depleted during construction. The outcome
of the litigation currently  is  pending. Tribes
are researching options to determine a bet-
ter recourse in the future  should a similar
situation occur.
      Although tribal communities face many of the same issues
      regarding water supply, there are some unique issues affecting
      tribes. Most Native American Reservations, especially on the
      U.S.-Mexico border, are located  in rural and remote areas.
      Many are in desert ecosystems or in  harsh, rocky mountainous
      areas.  Most of these reservation  communities lack the financial
      resources to provide adequate infrastructure to manage water
      resources. Myriad laws and regulations affect water and water
      rights in these areas, and are complicated by issues related to
      "checkerboard" reservations where tribal  land is interspersed
      with privately  owned land. All federal laws relating to water
      quality and supply apply to Native American Reservations. Water
      rights, however, are governed by state law. A tribe may be a
      delegated authority over water on its reservation if the tribe
      has enacted ordinances and regulations that adequately protect

      Water Supply Infrastructure  Deficiencies

      The critical nature of water supply infrastructure as a key
      determinant of economic growth and population sustainability
      is perhaps as  acute in the southwestern U.S. border region as
      anywhere in the United States. There is a clear consensus that,
      despite efforts to address gaps,  the region faces a substantial
      deficit in investment in such infrastructure. According to some
                          measures, California owes its position as the world's 9th largest
                          economy to the water supply infrastructure investments it has
                          made over the past 150 years. Likewise, the burgeoning econo-
                          mies and the development of thriving agricultural sectors in the
                          other U.S. border states would not have been possible without
                          the legacy of investment in dams, canals, wells and other water
                          storage and conveyance infrastructure throughout the region.
                          Viewed from a population sustainability perspective, Jo Ellen
                          Darcy  a senior official at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
                          observed at the World Water Forum in  Marseille, France in
                          March  2012, that without such investment, the population of
                          Los Angeles County would be nearer to 100,000 rather than
                          the 18 million  who currently reside there. At the same time,
                          water needs are dynamic and impacted by the very population
                          and economic growth that previous investment in the sector
                          has enabled. Additionally,  other factors such as the decay of
                          decades-old infrastructure make a substantial infrastructure
                          deficit discernible.

                          The American  Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimated in its
                          2009 state-level "report card" series that the four U.S. border
                          states would face a drinking water  infrastructure requirement of
                          more than $65 billion over the subsequent 20-year period. The
                          study considered dams/reservoirs, treatment plants, pumping
                          stations and other distribution infrastructure.
       The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                    Water Supply
In late 2011, focusing exclusively on the region located within
the 100 km strip of territory north of the border that constitutes
its U.S. mandate, the Border Environment Cooperation  Commis-
sion (BECC) assessed drinking water investment requirements at
$2.01 billion. The BECC analysis considered the costs associated
with providing access to centralized  water supply sources for
currently unserved or underserved populations of nearly 272,000
people. Table 3 summarizes these estimated requirements,
presented by each state's border region and water and waste-
water needs (see Chapter 4 for additional information).

Many residents in U.S. border counties  continue to lack access
to adequate drinking water and wastewater services, primarily
in rural communities where they rely on onsite systems. Given
that many onsite systems  lack adequate maintenance or water
quality testing,  resources may be needed either to connect
the residents to a centralized municipal or utility system or to
improve the onsite systems. A particular concern and investment
priority is with households that have connections to  centralized
water but not centralized wastewater service as shown in Table 4.
Residents in these households are likely to live near urbanized
areas because they receive water, and the gap in wastewater
service means an increased risk of exposure to untreated or
inadequately treated wastewater,  influenced by the following:

•  Residents connected  to centralized water systems tend to be
   higher water users creating a greater burden on wastewater
   disposal  methods, especially individual onsite systems.

Monitoring the New River, Calexico

 •  Areas served by centralized water systems are typically
   characterized by higher density development, resulting in
   insufficient space for adequate  leach field operation.

 •  High water tables and/or poor soil conditions are typical in
   the border region and influence risks related  to over-saturated
   leach  fields.
Table 3. Access to Centralized Municipal Services - U.S. Needs and Investment Estimates
New Mexico
Total U.S. Border Region
# of Counties
Drinking Water
$287.6 M
$987.8 M
$87.5 M
$646.6 M
$2.01 B
$849.6 M
$1 .67 B
$464.0 M
$3.48 B
$6.45 B
Total Estimated
$1.14 B
$2.65 B
$551.5 B
$4.1 2 B
$8.46 B
Source: BECC Needs Assessments, incorporating data from the U.S. Census Bureau; EPA EnviroFacts; Clean Water Needs Survey; state, city and county
       websites; direct contact with sector authorities, and connections and project data from BECC-NADB.

Table  4. Connections With Centralized Water Service and Without Centralized Wastewater Service
New Mexico
Total U.S. Border Region
# of Counties
Drinking Water
% Coverage
Total Estimated
$383.3 M
$58 M
$322.1 M
$2.4 B
$3.2 B
Source: BECC Needs Assessments, incorporating data from the U.S. Census Bureau; EPA EnviroFacts; Clean Water Needs Survey; state, city and county
       websites; direct contact with sector authorities, and connections and project data from BECC-NADB,

           Water Supply
Managing Water Supply  Through
Improved Management and

Border water supply challenges will require a multifaceted
approach, incorporating the construction of new infrastructure
but also improved management and conservation of existing
resources. Agriculture is a major water user, and efforts to better
manage and conserve water used in irrigation can have major
benefits. An example of this is when, in 2008, the U.S. and
Mexican governments, working through the IBWC, agreed to
release more than $80 million in grants to improve infrastructure
and irrigation practices in response to flow reduction from the
Conchos  River.  This affected not only Mexican farmers but also
those working downstream along the Rio Grande. These grants
were released via the BECC-North American Development Bank
(NADB) and were directed to the Delicias  Irrigation District in
Chihuahua and several U.S. irrigation districts so that more water
would be available downstream. Two approaches to reducing
water use in agriculture are better timing of irrigation and lining
of canals.

Conservation is a critical element of municipal water supply
management as well. Throughout the border region, cities
and towns are taking steps to reduce water use by changing
rate structures, offering incentives and providing outreach and

In addition to improvements in the efficiency of water use
both for the end user and the water systems themselves, many
communities throughout the United States also have begun to
better incorporate drought management into their short- and
long-term plans. The recent drought-like conditions throughout
much of the Southwest highlighted the  inadequacy of existing
drought management policies and the need to significantly
improve response strategies before the  next inevitable drought.

In Texas, most water suppliers are required to develop drought
contingency plans, but these plans often are ineffective or
without tangible, actionable steps. The most important drought
management tool is a strong water conservation program, which
also leads to more effective drought responses.

In addition to year-long water conservation programs, however,
drought management plans often involve water restrictions,
depending on climactic and water supply availability conditions.
Thus, with  proper input and stakeholder participation, water
suppliers can impose restrictions on lawn watering, irrigation
schedules or other such  activities. A properly vetted drought
contingency plan helps avoid protracted legal battles or political
uncertainty concerning water delivery.
 Solar Array at San Benito Water Treatment Plant
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                               Water Supply
 Case Study: Development of Improved  Irrigation Scheduling for Freshwater Conservation in Pecan
^^H          Fields of El  Paso County
 Pecan production is a major economic
 activity in southern New Mexico and Texas.
 In 2009, New Mexico ranked first in value of
 pecan production with approximately $133
 million in net sales.78 In recent years, the
 number of pecan groves in the New Mexico-
 Texas border area near El  Paso, Texas, has
 increased significantly; pecan production in
 New Mexico increased 63  percent between
 2008 and 2009.

 Pecan trees, however, need more water per
 acre than most other crops. Conserving
 water in pecan fields can reduce greatly the
 overall water consumption of the El Paso
 County Water Improvement District #1. Cur-
 rently, flood irrigation used by most pecan
growers in El Paso County not only flushes
nutrients out of the root zone but also uses
large quantities of water. Because most of
the soils have an elevated salt content, they
require flood irrigation.

Texas A&M University is working with the
pecan growers to reduce water consumption
by installing  moisture sensors in the pecan
groves  and irrigating the fields only when
water is needed by the trees. The university
has received a grant of $64,700 from the
Water Conservation Field Services program
of the Bureau of Reclamation to evaluate
the best moisture sensors and method to
determine the water requirements of the
pecan trees.  Texas A&M University has
provided an additional $65,000 in funding
for the project. Readings from the sensors
will be transmitted wirelessly to farmers'
computers and the university data collec-

At the conclusion of the program, Texas
A&M University will deliver a final report
to the Bureau of Reclamation describing
the methodology for determining a better
process for irrigating pecan groves. Further,
Texas A&M  University will  work with the
Pecan Growers Association and others to
conduct seminars with pecan growers in the
area to disseminate the information.
 Case Study: Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative7
 Harlingen Irrigation District Cameron County
 # 1 (District) in the Lower Rio Grande Valley
 of Texas developed an Agricultural Water
 Conservation Demonstration Initiative to
 illustrate how the District could save water.

 Established in May 1914, the District covers
 38,000 acres within Cameron County. The
 Rio Grande serves as the only water source
 in the area. Average annual water diversion
 is 52,000 acre-feet per year for irrigation
 and 15,000 acre-feet per year for municipal
 and domestic use. The District reports an
 estimated water delivery efficiency of about
 80 percent.

 The Rio Grande Valley suffered  unprec-
 edented water  shortages in the late 1990s.
 These shortages were exacerbated by
 Mexico's deficit in water deliveries to the
 United States under the 1944 Water Treaty,
 drier  than normal weather conditions, and
 booming urbanization trends, making water
 conservation a  priority. Lower Rio Grande
 water districts sought state and federal
 assistance for water conservation projects
 and received funding for the Lower Rio
Grande Valley Water Conservation program
and the 2025 Western Water Initiative
Challenge Grant, as well as the Agricultural
Water Conservation Demonstration Initiative.
The latter was a  BECC priority area and
the District's project was certified for $3.56
million; 50 percent of its total funding came
from NADB, and the remainder came mostly
from the District, with  about 10 percent
from the State of Texas.

The Water Conservation program had
two main accomplishments: installation of
canal lining and a pipeline, and meters and
telemetry advances. The Water Initiative
Challenge Grant helped establish  nine
flow-metering bridges  with remote telem-
etry units to assist farm deliveries. The
Agricultural Water Conservation Demonstra-
tion Initiative brought together multiple
participants from the area and provided
many helpful technologies and system
improvements to achieve higher rates of
water conservation. These improvements
included a variable speed pump,  metering
technologies, semi-automated calibration
tanks, Internet-based information  for real-
time flows, surge and automated surface
irrigation, and a water user accounting
system. The Texas Water Resources Institute
of the Texas A&M  University found that,
according  to the Economic and Conserva-
tion Evaluation of Capital Renovation
Projects for the Harlingen Irrigation District,
the initiative would create estimated water
savings of 13,092 acre-feet per year, on an
average annual basis.

The next steps for the Lower Rio Grande
Valley include a continued push  for district-
wide conservation improvements. The
conservation programs will seek to  continue
to improve and expand the telemetry sys-
tem and seek funds for canal rehabilitation
projects, as well as for the development
of low-cost level measurement devices,
low-cost automatic canal control gates, and
telemetry-supported soil moisture measure-
ment devices. The total water savings from
the entire  project, once completed, are
expected to be about 138,000 acre-feet per
 Case Study: The City of El Paso, Texas
 El Paso, Texas, instituted aggressive water
 conservation strategies to decrease water
 use. In 1990, El Paso was using 183 gallons
 per person per day (expressed as gallons
 per capita per day).80 By 2008, however, it
 had reduced this to 137 gallons per capita
per day,81 a decrease of 33 percent. El Paso
accomplished this through an aggressive
water conservation and education program,
including incentivizing people to xeriscape
their yards, providing low-flow shower
heads and low-flow toilets, developing a
city water conservation ordinance, encour-
aging residents to report water waste, and
promoting public awareness. During the
summer of 2012, El Paso used 500 million
gallons less than the amount used during
the same period in 2011.82



    s noted in Chapter 1, the Good
    Neighbor Environmental Board
(GNEB or Board) has addressed
water quality in its 4th, 8th and 13th
reports. Good water quality is vital
to the health of human communities
and ecosystems. This chapter seeks
to update the information from prior
reports, noting both improvements
and remaining challenges. Following
a description of the nature and
scale of water quality issues in the
U.S.-Mexico border region, four case
studies are presented to illustrate the
ways in which they are manifest at
a watershed scale. This is important
because truly improving water
quality for the long-term depends on
treatment of the entire hydrologic
system, rather than short-term
responses in a particular location,
because contamination is cumulative
as water moves downstream.

,  -  -
Importance  of Water Quality

Water quality, and its effects on the well-being of
human communities  and ecosystems, is determined
not only by geographical proximity. Impacts on waters
from their points of origin down to their terminal points
are cumulative. This  means that downstream locations
are affected by all of the activity upstream, including
that affecting all the  tributaries within the watershed
or basin.85 Additionally, water quality issues are com-
pounded by the fact that hydrologic systems span the

Water quality has had a profound  impact on human
health throughout history. Bacteria and parasites  in
water have caused outbreaks of infectious water-related
diseases such as cholera, typhoid,  dysentery and
hepatitis. Additionally, chemical contaminants such as
nitrates and arsenic can lead to chronic disease.

Implications for Public Health

For decades there has  been recognition of the challeng-
es facing communities with inadequate infrastructure
in  the border region. Although these communities
offer affordable home sites for people with limited
incomes, some are located close to shallow sources of
water, and many were established  within floodplains,
and they often pose health risks due to the potential
contamination of insufficiently protected shallow wells.
During storm events, sewage and  septage  (the waste in
septic tanks) may overflow into well housings and affect
ground water and surface water quality.

Outside of the major incorporated municipalities, many
communities in the border region obtain their drink-
ing water from local  wells. Some of these wells are
in  excess of 800 to 1,000 feet  deep and can contain
harmful concentrations of minerals such as  arsenic and
fluoride that occur at such depths. Additionally, some
water sources contain radioactive compounds.84 Both
ground and surface waters also may be contaminated
by the highly toxic byproducts of industrial activity
where industrial effluent has been  insufficiently treated
to protect public health.

Even within communities where some residents benefit
from centralized services, independent of whether they
are located in urban or rural areas, the populations most
threatened by waterborne diseases are the economically
disadvantaged. Because they  typically receive water
intermittently,  regardless of the method of delivery
(piped systems, water tank trucks or hand  hauling),
economically disadvantaged households must obtain

                                                                                  Taking water samples for environmental research
              The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                 Water Quality
adequate quantities of water when  it is available, and
then store it in containers for subsequent use when the
delivery system is inoperative or unavailable, increasing
the risk of contamination.

Although the public health aspects  of the lack of clean
water for household use are widely recognized, and
these include vulnerability to pathogens such as bacte-
ria, protozoa and viruses,8586 the effect of contaminated
irrigation water is not as apparent. Vegetables that are
grown with water that has been in contact with raw
sewage can carry infectious diseases such as hepatitis,
dysentery and cholera. Domestic sewage also can
contribute to interactions of pharmaceutical compounds
with bacteria, the latter then developing  resistance to
medical interventions.8789 Where raw foods are trans-
ported across the international  boundary via informal
markets, health risks are difficult to  track, resulting  in a
public health profile in the border region that does not
meet the standards of a regulated marketplace.90

Additional threats to public health stem from water-
related vector-borne diseases such as arboviral
encephalitis (that which is carried by mosquitoes and
ticks) and hantaviruses. Poorly controlled  water sources,
including stagnant  and organically charged waters, can
facilitate the spread of gastrointestinal pathogens, such
as G/ard/a lamblia,  Campy/obacter sp., Vibrio cholerae
and  Hepatitis A and E viruses.  In addition, the region
has seen the emergence of several  new vector-borne
diseases that are associated with declining moisture
regimes. For example, in 2010, Arizona, New Mexico,
Texas and California accounted for 55 percent of all
cases of arboviral neuro-invasive diseases in the  United

Implications for Ecosystems

Vibrant ecosystems play a critical role in the overall
health and  well-being  of both urban and rural popula-
tions. When people are not in daily contact with
surrounding natural systems, they may not recognize
how directly dependent they are on them. The water
resources contained in streams, reservoirs, lakes and
underground  aquifers are essential to support wildlife,
agriculture and  recreational opportunities, in addition to
residential,  commercial and industrial activity. Compro-
mised water quality affects all of these uses.

In addition  to gathering data on known contaminants,
the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been studying
emerging contaminants (hormones,  wastewater com-
pounds, pharmaceuticals and personal care products)
in border watersheds.  For example,  studies conducted
by the USGS  Border Environmental  Health Initiative
in both the San Pedro and Santa Cruz River Basins,
both of which are dependent on effluent, aim to better
understand the  links between these contaminants and
ecosystem health. After collecting and analyzing water,
soil, plants, birds, fish and aquatic insects in the Santa
Cruz River Basin, researchers detected a number of
compounds at levels of concern.94 The USGS also has
initiated a study of surface-to-ground water transport of
emerging contaminants at Tumacacori National Historical
Park, which includes portions of the Santa Cruz River.

Implications for  Economic

Water quality also is of critical,  though often unrecog-
nized, importance to  border economies. A  study of the
relationship between  water  quality and economic oppor-
tunity in Texas noted that "a sound natural environment
is essential...for maintaining...a strong state economy.
Healthy aquatic ecosystems conserve biodiversity and
support many industries, including recreation, tourism,
commercial fishing, transportation and water supply."95

Water Quality Concerns in the
Border Region

Concerns about water quality in the border region  are
both acknowledged and widespread. As  shown in
Table 5, the most consistent data come from surface
water analysis, as the binational water agreements
concern only surface water.  For example, recent data
from the  Santa  Cruz River in Arizona suggest that water
quality has improved  with respect to ammonia,  nitrate
and biological oxygen demand (BOD) concentrations.
There are indications of new measures, however, that
exceed safe concentration limits, including  both total
and dissolved cadmium, other metals and sporadic
bacterial excursions. Contamination of ground and
surface water may come from industrial and sew-
age treatment facilities, stormwater runoff, drainage,
seepage and other sources. Point source pollution  in
the border region may be identified from production
facilities, waste  sites and by industry.96

In addition to contaminants entering water bodies
at specific points, nonpoint  source pollution affects
drinking water, recreation, fisheries and other wildlife as
shown in Figure 9, and includes:

• Excess fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides from
  agricultural lands and residential areas;

• Oil, grease and toxic chemicals from urban runoff
  (e.g., paved/unpaved road systems) and  energy

             Water Quality
Table 5. Examples of Impairments/Pollutants in Transboundary Watersheds

 Escherichia coli
 Low Dissolved Oxygen

 Mercury in edible tissue


 PCBs in edible tissue



 Total Dissolved Solids

                      Water  Bodies With  Impairment
Burn Lake, NM
Nogales Wash, AZ
Salton Sea, CA
Alamo and New Rivers, Salton Sea, CA; Nogales Wash and Potrero Creek, AZ; Arroyo
Colorado Tidal, Arroyo Colorado Above Tidal, Rio Grande Above and  Below Amistad
Reservoir, Rio  Grande Below Falcon Reservoir and Rio Grande Below Riverside
Diversion  Dam, Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico, TX; Mimbres River, NM; Pacific
Ocean,  CA; Tijuana Estuary, CA; Tijuana River, CA
Gila River, AZ
Rio Grande Above Amistad Reservoir and  Rio Grande Below Riverside Diversion
Dam, TX
Nogales Wash and Potrero Creek, AZ
New River, CA; Nogales Wash and San Pedro River, AZ
San Pedro River, AZ
New River, CA; Potrero Creek and Painted Rock Borrow Pit Lake, AZ; Arroyo
Colorado Tidal and Laguna Madre, TX; Bear Canyon  Reservoir, NM; Tijuana River, CA
Alamo and New Rivers, CA; Parker Canyon Lake, AZ; Arroyo Colorado Tidal, Arroyo
Colorado Above Tidal and Gulf of Mexico, TX; Bear Canyon Reservoir, NM
New River and Salton Sea, CA; Bear Canyon Reservoir and Mimbres River, NM;
Barrett  Lake, CA; Morena Reservoir, CA; Tijuana Estuary, CA; Tijuana River, CA
Alamo and New Rivers, CA; Arroyo Colorado Tidal and Arroyo Colorado Above Tidal,
TX; Pacific Ocean (Imperial Pier), CA
Alamo and New Rivers, Salton Sea, CA; Painted Rock Borrow Pit Lake, AZ; Arroyo
Colorado Tidal, TX; Tijuana Estuary, CA; Tijuana River, CA
Salton Sea, CA
Alamo and New Rivers, CA; Tijuana Estuary, CA; Tijuana River, CA
Alamo and New Rivers, Salton Sea, CA; Colorado River and Gila River, AZ;
Cottonwood Creek, CA; Tecate Creek, CA;  Tijuana River, CA
Rio Grande Above Amistad Reservoir, TX
Mimbres River, NM
Rio Grande Above Amistad Reservoir and  Rio Grande Below Riverside Diversion
Dam, TX
New River, CA; Tijuana River, CA
New River, CA; Tijuana Estuary, CA; Tijuana River, CA
New River, CA
Aquatic Life
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Public Health, Aquatic Life
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Water Quality (general use)

Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health

Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health

Aquatic Life, Wildlife

Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health

Public Health, Aquatic Life, Wildlife

Aquatic Life
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health

Water Quality (general use)
Aquatic Life
Water Quality (general use)

Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife, Public Health
Aquatic Life, Wildlife
Source: Final California 2010 Integrated Report( 303(d) List/305(b) Report,
  Sediment from improperly managed construction sites, crop
  and forest lands, and eroding stream banks;

  Salt from  irrigation practices and acid drainage from aban-
  doned mines;

  Bacteria and nutrients from livestock, pet wastes and faulty
  septic systems;

  Atmospheric deposition and hydromodification such as chan-
  nelization, installation of dams, and streambank and shoreline
  erosion; and

  Ash, soil  and debris from  forest fires.97
                                          Nonpoint source pollution is more difficult to identify because
                                          it occurs in a broad, transboundary landscape where monitoring
                                          is technically difficult and expensive. The effects can include
                                          subtle contamination of drinking water sources provided to
                                          human communities by both private and public water systems;
                                          this appears to be a particular problem  in areas with widely
                                          distributed water systems serving agricultural households that
                                          are located near irrigation canals.98 In acknowledging  such  risks,
                                          the U.S. federal government has enacted protective regulations,
                                          although they  do not apply to all consumers.99 In forested  areas,
                                          fuels treatment (e.g., thinning and removal  of wood) has the
                                          benefit of indirectly protecting water quality by reducing the
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                 Water Quality
Figure 9. Water Body Pollution Sources
       foatment plants and tactonoa or
•owe* of pafluha*. AMKKm fwtoirti And
jr:i^**& u*. be Harboured tor Imm BRSI
Source: The U.S. Geological Survey Water Science School (http://ga.water.
number of catastrophic wildfires and therefore nonpoint source
pollution,  as well as directly protecting communities from fire.

The factors described in the previous chapters that are affect-
ing water  supply, from drought to increased ground water
extraction, also affect water quality. For example, as seen in the
Chapter 1 Case Study, in the Palomas-Columbus region at the
New Mexico-Chihuahua  border,  arsenic and fluoride concentra-
tions have increased  in ground water as water quantity in the
aquifers has decreased.  Combined with more stringent drink-
ing water  standards (the arsenic drinking water standard, for
example, was lowered from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb
in 2001, with enforcement of the new standard beginning in
2006), the resulting changes have meant that many community
water systems  are out of compliance with federal law.  Standard
responses to these problems include expensive system upgrades
and continued operation and maintenance (O&M) costs that
many communities cannot afford.

Border tribes also face particular challenges in assuring drinking
water quality for their communities. As described in Chapters
1 and 2, they have been affected  by cross-border flows, the
characteristics of deep-well water quality (such as the persistent
problem of ammonium perchlorate and arsenic) and reduced
funding. U.S. federally recognized Native American tribes must
adopt federal water quality standards on their reservations that
are at least as  stringent  as those of the U.S. federal govern-
ment, although they  are not subject to  local or state laws or
regulations.100 Tribes  have the authority to establish water quality
standards  more stringent than those of the U.S. federal govern-
ment although no border tribes have exercised that right.101

After the change in the drinking  water standard for arsenic, about
one-half of the wells on the Tohono O'odham Nation (TON) did
not meet the new standard in 2012. In the past, the TON has
received support from the Border Environment Infrastructure  Fund
(BEIF) to address arsenic issues, but those funds have diminished.
The TON  has addressed the non-compliance problem by asking
for exemptions for particular wells and by combining water from
more than one system to achieve dilution, thereby reducing the
concentration of arsenic to below the standard.102 Researchers
from Arizona State University recently received a Border 2012
grant to conduct field and  laboratory work and to begin develop-
ing  technologies to address the arsenic problem. In general,  in
response to the decreasing federal financial support to address
tribal water quality issues,  Native American nations have had to
redirect their limited resources from other budget categories103
and develop innovative cooperative programs with the U.S. states
in which they are located.104106

As noted in Chapter 1, current changes in weather patterns also
affect the management of water resources. As noted above,
drought reduces  the volume of water, thereby increasing  the
concentration of contaminants. At the other extreme, dramatic
storm events  can produce flood conditions that can overwhelm
local catchment and diversion systems, thus creating extreme
stormwater runoff conditions that flood communities on both
sides of the border and compromise the buffering between
residential water resources and domestic waste disposal  in areas
with shallow wells. As  in any region,  there also is the prospect
of compromised security for public water systems through
sabotage or other kinds of disruption.

Water Quality  Management and
Regulation of the  Resource

As described  in Chapter 1, federal, state, tribal and local
governments  have developed policies and  established programs
to manage and protect water  quality in the border region.
Cooperative efforts among U.S. entities and with Mexico
have been accomplished; however, pollutants from point  and
nonpoint sources in  the United States and Mexico still are
entering shared waterways. This problem, along
with inadequately treated drinking water, is
impacting the health of border residents as well
as degrading environmental quality.
                           U.S. federal legislation has led to the develop-
                           ment of water quality monitoring and protection
                           programs aimed at both surface and ground
                           water. For example, the U.S. Environmental
                           Protection Agency (EPA) administers the Source
                           Water Assessment and Protection program,
                           building on prior Wellhead  Protection program
                           efforts to protect ground water.107 A healthy watershed provides
                           high-quality upstream flows that recharge wells and riparian
                           areas as well as pesticide-free buffer zones, called refugia, which
                           are critical for suppressing the expansion of pesticide-resistance
                           genes and organisms.108 Maintaining safe drinking water supplies
                           begins with a source water assessment  to delineate or map
                           the land area that  could contribute water and pollutants to the
                           water supply. Water protection programs then are tailored to
                           a state's or tribe's water resources and drinking water priorities
Border tribes
also face
in assuring
drinking water
quality for their

            Water Quality
using the approach shown in Figure 10. Section 106 of the
Clean Water Act authorizes EPA to provide federal assistance
to states (including territories, the District of Columbia and
Native American tribes) and interstate  agencies to establish and
implement ongoing water pollution control programs. Pollution
control programs include prevention and control measures such
as permitting, development of water quality standards and total
maximum  daily loads (TMDL), surveillance, ambient water quality
monitoring, and enforcement; advice and assistance to local
agencies; and the provision of training and public  information.109

The  1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act established
the Clean  Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) to fund water
quality protection projects, including nonpoint source, watershed
protection or restoration, and estuary management projects,
as well as  more traditional municipal wastewater treatment
projects. The 1987 amendments also established the Section
319  Nonpoint Source Management program  to provide federal
leadership in helping focus state and  local nonpoint source
efforts. Grant monies to states, territories and tribes support a
wide variety of activities,  including technical assistance, educa-
tion  and training, technology transfer, demonstration projects
and  monitoring to  assess the success of specific nonpoint source
implementation projects.  The four border states have used clean
water loans to address water infrastructure needs in  their border

The  Safe Drinking Water Act established programs specifically
for the protection and management of drinking water. The 1996
  amendments to the Act established the Drinking Water State
  Revolving Fund (DWSRF) to make funds available for financing
  drinking water infrastructure improvements, including the instal-
  lation of new water treatment facilities and upgrading aging
  systems (see  Chapters 1 and 4). The DWSRF focuses on small
  and disadvantaged  communities and programs that  encourage
  pollution prevention as a tool for ensuring safe drinking water.
  Other programs address the supervision of public water systems
  and underground injection wells.

  EPA's Targeted Watershed Grants  program was  initiated in 2002
  to encourage successful community-based approaches  and
  management techniques to protect and restore the  nation's
  waters. Any governmental or nonprofit non-governmental entity
  is eligible to  receive a grant under this program, and inter-
  jurisdictional watershed partnerships are encouraged. Through
  these grants, EPA expects to see  the return of native fish spe-
  cies and increased recreational opportunities, and to discover
  innovative solutions to improving  and sustaining water  quality.
  Between 2003 and  2007, the Targeted Watershed Grants
  Program supported a  project along the Arizona-Sonora border
  to coordinate basin-wide restoration, monitoring and policy
  efforts targeting the Santa Cruz River in Arizona and Sonora.110
  The collaborative endeavor was led by the Sonoran Institute
  and brought  together federal, state and local government
  agencies; non-governmental organizations (NGOs); academic
  institutions; and local ranchers and developers from both sides
  of the border.
     Figure 10. Water Quality-Based Approach of the Clean Water Act
      Defines the water quality goal
      Compile data/information and
      access waterbody condition
Adopt Water Quality Standards
  Monitor and Access Waters
                                                           List Impaired and Threatened Waters
      303(d) Program 40 CFR 130.7
                                                                   Develop TMDLs
                                  Control Point Sources Via National Pollutant  I    Manage Nonpoint Sources Through Grants,
                                 Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits I      Partnerships and Voluntary Programs
     Source: EPA, Water: Total Maximum Daily Loads (303d). Retrieved from
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                  Water Quality
 Colorado River at Quechan Tribal Reservation

EPA also has a number of programs that provide assistance
in protecting wetlands, and border communities from San
Diego, California through Brownsville, Texas, have accessed
those grants for projects to conduct assessments,  map riparian
vegetation, and implement control measures.111  In response
to the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health
(BEACH) Act of 2000, EPA has established programs to improve
water quality testing at beaches and  to help beach managers
better inform the public of water quality problems. To support
its beach water quality monitoring program,  for example, in
2012, the San Diego County Department of Environmental
Health received $25K (6%) of its funding from the U.S. federal
government through the BEACH program, $300K (74%) from
the  state and $83K (20%) from the county. Departmental staff
work closely with NGOs on the program as well.

One of the most serious water quality concerns in the border
region comes from the interaction of human sources with natural
phenomena. The desert rivers and aquifers of the southwest
borderlands tend towards high natural salinity. High levels exist
where salts present in soils are mobilized and transported by
the  movement of ground water, leaching and biological activity,
leading  to their accumulation (see Case Study in Chapter 2:
Development of Improved Irrigation Scheduling for Freshwater
Conservation in Pecan Fields of El Paso County). The mobiliza-
tion and transport of salts are exacerbated by land clearing
and human activities. Although  this is particularly true of the
Colorado River system,112 it also is true of the Rio Grande

Agricultural return flows are a main cause of elevated salinity
levels that affect both U.S. and  Mexican  water users and require
monitoring  by farmers and domestic  water users to ensure
that the water is suitable for crop production and  municipal
uses.  In the  Lower  Rio Grande Valley, the El  Morillo Drain in
Tamaulipas,  Mexico, is the subject of International Boundary
and Water Commission (IBWC) Minutes 269  and 282. It contains
highly saline irrigation return flows that are diverted from the
Rio Grande. When the pumps for the El Morillo Drain fail or are
inoperable, these highly saline waters enter the Rio Grande and
jeopardize the ability of U.S. farmers to use Rio Grande water
to irrigate crops—salinity levels can become high enough to
kill crops. To respond  to the elevated salinity levels, the IBWC
developed the  Morillo Drain project—a channel that prevents
saline irrigation return flows from a  Mexican  irrigation district
from entering the Rio Grande by bypassing these flows into
a Mexican canal that discharges into the Gulf of Mexico. The
Morillo Drain project is funded  by the U.S. and Mexican federal
governments and Texas irrigators. Despite the Morillo Drain
project, however, in 2011, the  Rio Grande Watermaster of the
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) had to
release a total of 78,000 acre-feet of Texas water stored behind
Falcon Dam to  dilute  the Rio Grande salinity to useable levels.
Higher salinity levels are being  recorded upstream  of the Morillo
Project. Therefore, the IBWC is undertaking an analysis of water
quality from Falcon Dam to the Gulf of Mexico to determine if
different sources of salinity are developing. Although problems
still occur, significant improvements have been made to the
Morillo Drain infrastructure in  2011 and 2012, including pumping
plant upgrades and clearing of debris and sediment from chan-
nels and culverts to improve reliable operation of the system.
As part of this effort, O&M responsibilities were transferred  from
the Mexican National  Water Commission (CONAGUA) to the
Mexican  Section of the IBWC in late 2011.

On the Colorado River, the two countries employed a similar
approach in the Wellton-Mohawk  Irrigation District, bypassing
saline flows  from the United States and into  the Wellton-
Mohawk Drain.  This Drain  conveys these saline waters to the
Santa Clara  Slough in Mexico. The bypass ensures  that the
salinity of Colorado River water that the United States delivers
to Mexico is similar to that received by U.S.  users.  Further
upstream, the U.S. federal government, in partnership with
individual water users and water districts throughout the basin,
has made considerable effort in recent decades to reduce salin-
ity loading into the river by some 1.2 million tons per year.  The
Colorado River  Basin Salinity Control Act of 1974 authorized the
planning and execution of successful salinity control measures,
including improving irrigation practices such  as by  lining canals
and  ditches  to reduce percolation of salinity from farm fields
into  the Colorado River, and improving flood irrigation systems
or providing sprinklers.114

Best  Practices

In the border region water is scarce, highly regulated and vital
to its communities for their quality of life, economic, ecological
and  human  health. The border  region shares the same complex
interactivity among the atmosphere, landscape, surface water,
ground water, human  activities and  aquatic health that impact
water quality in other regions,  but with the significant difference
that it shares an international  border with Mexico. The political
geography of this shared fundamental resource significantly

                  Water Quality
       alters the planning environment in which water and watersheds
       are managed along the border. Ultimately, water quality is an
       outcome that is linked intrinsically to land use, discharge and
       stormwater policies and practices in the watershed or basin.
       Though much more remains to be done, the GNEB  identified
       pockets of progress along the border where best practices
       currently are being implemented using  collaborative, watershed-
       based or basin-wide approaches with local, state, regional
       and international partners. These efforts are laying the ground
       work for conservation, monitoring for impacts and planning for

       Data Collection and Monitoring

       The geography, growing population and natural environment in
       the border region place continuing stress on water resources.
       This requires an integrated response to support human settle-
       ments of the future, affecting land use choices, hydrography,
       water use patterns and economic strategies. Information that
       can  highlight both spatial and temporal aspects of vulnerability
       to water shortages and contamination can be especially useful
       in, for example, developing local and regional water resource
       plans and long-run economic development plans,  identifying
       infrastructure and investment needs, and highlighting communi-
       ties and ecosystem  resources most at risk.115

       Since 2000, the GNEB has re-iterated in multiple reports (4th,
       8th and 13th) its support for watershed-based or basin-wide
       approaches that are integrated and  stakeholder driven, the
       development of binational data protocols, and the expansion
       of data sharing, analysis and monitoring infrastructure (surface,
       ground and aquifers) along the border's entire length, from its
       eastern most extent in Brownsville, Texas, to its westernmost
       extent in Imperial Beach, California. In the 8th GNEB report,
       the Board commented that these approaches are "...absolutely
                          essential if the sustainable management of U.S.-Mexico border
                          water resources is to be achieved."66

                          Several  important initiatives have begun in recent years,
                          including a cross-border water data sharing program in the
                          Paso del Norte area in support of watershed restoration,116 as
                          well as water flow and quality management plans that have
                          been developed collaboratively by researchers from Texas, New
                          Mexico  and  Chihuahua117 (see also Roadmap - A Draft Model
                          for Collaborative Operation of Transboundary Watersheds"8).

                          The following case studies illustrate the watershed-based
                          approach to water quality analysis and mitigation. The case
                          study of the Texas Clean Rivers Program focuses on partnerships
                          for water quality monitoring. The Colorado River Basin Water
                          Quality  Control Board addresses water quality through establish-
                          ing and implementing limits on TMDL of pollutants. The case
                          study of the Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team illustrates an
                          applied strategy to restore the health of the water resources in
                          southern California. The final case study explains how conserva-
                          tion efforts at the landscape scale involving multiple watersheds
                          draw upon partnerships with multiple agencies and across
                          international boundaries.

                          Identifying and Implementing Pollution

                          Once information about water quality is made available, it
                          is  important that actions are taken to eliminate or reduce
                          contaminants. With the appropriate enforcement mechanisms in
                          place, active stakeholder participation can be crucial for finding
                          and adopting approaches that achieve results. Because of the
                          cumulative nature of many contaminants, watershed-based or
                          basin-wide approaches are critical.
Case Study: Monitoring for Impacts: The Texas Clean  Rivers Program (for the Rio  Grande Basin)
There are 1,255 miles of river and 91
monitoring stations located along the Texas
portion of the Rio Grande that is the south-
ern border of the United States. The Texas
Clean Rivers Program (CRP), a federal-state
partnership between the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the
U.S. Section of the International Bound-
ary and Water Commission (USIBWC), is
responsible for collecting water quality data
throughout the Texas portion of the Rio
Grande Basin. The CRP is a state fee-funded
program for water quality monitoring,
assessment and public outreach, and aims
to maintain and improve the quality of
water within each river basin in Texas. The
CRP works with a host of partners (state
and local government agencies, non-govern-
mental organizations [NGOs] and academic
institutions) to monitor, collect and analyze
water samples from the upper, middle and
lower Rio Grande in Texas. With these data,
the partners are able to identify and evalu-
ate water quality issues, establish priorities
for corrective actions, and work to imple-
ment those actions. In addition to routine
monitoring and assessment, shared through
its annual report and its 5-year basin
reports, the program also conducts special
studies to investigate changes in stream
characteristics. These science-based efforts
are complemented by outreach activities,
environmental education, service learn-
ing projects and public meetings. Water
quality data are analyzed based on the
designated use of a particular river segment
to determine if the applicable water quality
standards are being met. The major water
quality issues for the Rio Grande Basin in
Texas are bacteria (as shown in Figure 11),
nutrients, salts, depressed dissolved oxygen
(as shown in Figure 12), fish  kills, illegal
discharging, trash and exotic species.119
      The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                         Water Quality
Figure  11. 2010-2012 Bacterial Impairments

Source: Grijalva, L. USIBWC Texas Clean Rivers Program for the Rio Grande (PowerPoint presentation), June 28, 2012.
Figure  12. 2010-2012 Dissolved Oxygen and Salinity Impairments

Source: Grijalva, L. USIBWC Texas Clean Rivers Program for the Rio Grande (PowerPoint presentation), June 28, 2012.

                  Water Quality
Case Study: Colorado River Basin Water Quality  Control Board and Imperial Valley Farm  Bureau:
                A Cooperative Approach for Implementation of Pollutant Limits120
The Salton Sea Watershed contains five
of the six impaired surface waters  listed
on the Clean Water Act 303(d) list of the
Colorado River Basin Regional Water Qual-
ity Control Board (WQC Board).121 Water
quality is impacted primarily by nonpoint
source pollutants, such as sediment from
irrigated agriculture in the Imperial Valley.
For the region, agriculture is a billion dollar
industry and is an important source of
winter  vegetables, such as winter greens,
sold throughout the United  States. These
impairments require the development and
implementation of total maximum  daily
loads (TMDLs), which provide the basis for
strategies to improve and protect a region's
water quality.

The WQC Board overcame its initial adver-
sarial beginnings with the TMDL process
by adopting a watershed-based manage-
ment approach that focused on watershed
analysis, prioritizing water quality issues,
coordinating regulatory programs, and
allowing for significant public participation
and cooperation to develop and implement
solutions. Key to the process' success
was the creation of a Technical Advisory
Committee that involved those most likely
to be impacted by the TMDLs in their
development in  identifying and recommend-
ing best management practices (BMPs) for
compliance.122 The WQC Board designated
a liaison to support the Committee's work
as a facilitator and communicator among
the Committee, the Board and the Imperial
County Farm Bureau, a cooperating agency
in TMDL development. The Farm Bureau's
Voluntary Compliance program
also has been an important contributor
to the region's success by using the Farm
Bureau, not regulators, in assisting the
farmers to self-determine and implement
BMPs tailored toward the impairments and
to include them in On-Farm Water Quality
Improvement Plans.

This approach has been met with significant
success. The WQC Board has adopted
TMDLs for the New River, Alamo River
and Imperial Valley Drain, as well as a
Valley-wide standard for silt. A TMDL  imple-
mentation plan is in place,  and monitoring
data are showing a significant decrease in
suspended solids for the Alamo and New
       Restoration and Recovery Within

       Watersheds and Basins

       Along the border, impaired  water basins and ecosystems require
       long-term, collaborative solutions that take into account the
       varied resources, capacities  and needs of stakeholders and

       As these case studies indicate, addressing water quality requires
       analysis and action on a broad, geographical scale based on
                          realities within given watersheds. Furthermore, successfully

                          mitigating contamination requires ongoing cooperation between

                          private and public agencies and across international boundaries.

                          To promote restoration and recovery of waters, federal agen-

                          cies from both countries have worked to match sampling and

                          analytic procedures for water salinity of the Colorado River. A

                          binational technical group, including the IBWC, the U.S. Bureau

                          of Reclamation, and Mexico's National Water Commission

                          completed a technical report on a study of the sampling and
Case Study: Reaching  Across Borders -  Landscape-Scale Conservation in the Big  Bend-Rio Bravo  Region1
In the border region, landscape-scale con-
servation (which typically involves multiple
watersheds) necessitates transboundary
cooperation and collaboration. This certainly
is true of conservation efforts under way
in the Big Bend/Rio Bravo Region of the
northern Chihuahuan Desert—an area
that encompasses more than 300 miles
of the Rio Grande and many secondary
watersheds, as well as nearly 3  million acres
of public and private land dedicated to con-
servation efforts. Watershed conservation
efforts in the Alamito,  Tornillo and Terlingua
creeks are showing promising results,
including enhancement and restoration in
stream, riparian and grassland habitats,
and plans for a partial dam removal in
Alamito  Creek. Efforts to re-establish the
endangered Rio Grande silvery  minnow in
the Big Bend reach of the  Rio Grande also
are showing signs of success. Landscape-
scale planning is improving coordination for
identifying  and accomplishing shared con-
servation goals between  the two countries,
as well as between public land  managers
and private landowners. By working with
the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS)
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program
and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's
Landowner Incentive program, private land-
owners are implementing habitat restoration
activities in prioritized watersheds adjacent
to protected lands.

In 2010, President Barack Obama and
former President Felipe Calderon issued
a joint statement for agencies in their
countries to use their respective national
processes to designate the Big Bend-Rio
Bravo region as "a natural area of binational
interest." Since then, two major binational
forums have been established to support
strategic implementation and coordination
of transboundary landscape conservation in
the region.  Together, these groups are work-
ing to create a transboundary landscape
conservation strategy for the Big Bend-Rio
Bravo Region.

The Big Bend Conservation Cooperative is
a local grassroots partnership of more than
30 organizations with  leadership from the
USFWS, National Park Service, U.S. Geologi-
cal Survey, and Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department. This group is building on
successful cooperative projects to create a
cooperative program focused on coordinat-
ing science and monitoring in an adaptive
management framework to inform, directly
and efficiently, conservation actions and
improve the efficacy and efficiency of their
implementation. The group also is develop-
ing a climate action plan for the region.

Related to and integrated with the Big Bend
Conservation Cooperative, the Big Bend-Rio
Bravo Initiative is being jointly led by the
U.S. Department of the Interior and  Mexican
Secretariat of Environment and Natural
Resources (SEMARNAT) with participation
from multiple agencies in the United States
and Mexico to improve binational coordina-
tion for conservation efforts in the region.
This group produced the "Action  Plan for
the Big Bend/Rio Bravo Protected Area" in
2011. The plan contains 12 specific trans-
boundary conservation goals focused on
implementing conservation actions,  connect-
ing people with nature, and encouraging
sustainable, conservation-based economic
activities in local communities; it currently
is being implemented by natural resource
managers and scientists on both sides of
the border. The Action  Plan provides a
framework to focus research, monitoring,
restoration and conservation priorities,
including the re-opening of a local Port of
Entry, restoration of the Rio Grande, inva-
sive species  control, fire management and
local community and visitor engagement  in
conservation practices.
      The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                                  Water Quality
   Case  Study: Ready for Action - Watershed-Based Approaches for  Restoration and  Recovery: The Tijuana
           HHj   River Valley Recovery Team125
   The Tijuana River Valley and its estuary
   spans two countries and has two faces. The
   first is as an ecologically significant area
   that is home to a National Wildlife Refuge,
   National Estuarine Research Reserve,  and
   the California State Park, San Diego County
   Regional Park. The Tijuana River culminates
   in the largest and least developed estuary
   in southern California, which is considered
   by the United Nations as a "wetland of
   international importance," and provides
   habitat to more than 370 species of birds.
   Its second face is as a significantly chal-
   lenged natural resource that balances and
   is impacted by the complexity of land uses
   and land use policies on both sides of the
   border. The 1,700 square mile transboundary
   watershed originates in Mexico and flows
   northward to the United States. Stormwater
   flows  bring trash, high concentrations of
   urban, agricultural and  industrial pollut-
   ants and a large volume of sediment  from
   highly erosive soils in the upper watershed's
   floodplain—the 8 square mile Tijuana  River
   Valley and its associated estuary.

   Until recently, up to 13  million gallons per
   day of untreated sewage crossed the border
   via the Tijuana River, resulting in beach
   closures year-round in the United States. To
   address inadequate sewage treatment, the
   U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
   and the International Boundary and Water
   Commission (IBWC) invested  nearly $400
   million in infrastructure to collect and treat
   Tijuana's wastewater. In addition, a Mexican
   utility has made substantial expenditures
   to provide more than 90 percent of Tijuana
   with wastewater services.126127

   Although these investments resolved  the
   contamination problems of the river during
   dry weather, rain events can produce high
   stormwater runoff that  concentrates trash
   and other urban, agricultural and industrial
pollutants in the river and its tributaries
with threats to ecological, recreational and
economic resources. Additionally, the soils
in the watershed are highly susceptible to
erosion, especially when disturbed; due to
urbanization, even moderate storms can
bring significant flows of sediment down-

Excessive sediment also suffocates the
vegetation and  eliminates natural ecosystem
functions such as coastal erosion control
and pollutant removal. During a single storm
event in 2005, 18 acres of wetlands in the
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research
Reserve were buried with sediment.
Restoration of these wetlands costs more
than $400,000 per acre. Rapid population
growth and development within the water-
shed has meant greater  costs  for sediment
removal by the  City of San Diego  and the
State of California, with  total costs tripling
to $3 million and increasing from $38,000
in 2004 to $2.5 million in 2009 to remove

Because sediment is  listed as  a pollutant
causing impairment  in the Tijuana River
and Estuary on  California's 303(d) list, the
San Diego Regional  Water Quality Control
(WQC) Board for the State of California is
tasked with addressing the sediment loads
on the U.S. side of the border. In response,
the WQC  Board formed  the Tijuana River
Valley Recovery Team, a group of 30 local,
state and  federal agencies.  The original
intent of the Board was  that through the
formation of the Recovery Team, U.S.-side
infrastructure collection  of sediment and
trash could be designed and funded. The
Board gave the City and County of San
Diego, and other landowners in  the area,
the choice to either participate in the
Team's meetings or to face cleanup and
abatement fines. The Board also funded the
URS Corporation to provide cost estimates
for the foreseen sediment basins and trash

Preliminary hydrology and hydraulic studies
of the watershed by URS suggested that
most of the proposed U.S.-side infrastruc-
ture would be prohibitively expensive to
construct and operate, so the Team eventu-
ally decided to try to  look for solutions in
Mexico. A few members of the Recovery
Team started participating in Tijuana Water-
shed Task Force Border 2012 meetings with
Mexican local, state and federal agencies.
The Border 2012 program provided more
than $500,000 since 2004 for projects in
Tijuana to reduce trash and sediment. The
program also paid for translation services
for meetings between members of the
Recovery Team and Tijuana officials. In
addition, the Recovery Team has been
involved in a new binational "watershed
initiative" recently created by IBWC. The
IBWC intends to sign a Minute to address
the trash and sediment problem.

Both the IBWC and The Tijuana River Valley
Recovery Team have expressed interest in
supporting the new EPA-Mexican Secretariat
of Environment and Natural Resources
(SEMARNAT) Border 2020 program, which
identifies the Tijuana River Watershed
as one of four high-priority watersheds
in the border region. If well managed,
these multiple agencies, workgroups and
programs will align to avoid redundancies
and maximize leveraging opportunities. It
is hoped also that, via the total maximum
daily loads program, a mechanism is
established for U.S.-side landowners to fund
source control projects in Mexico so that
their investment has more significant and
long-term results.129
 The day the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow was reintroduced into the
 wild (December 16, 2008) at Big Bend National Park.

Source: Raymond Skiles, National Park Service.
                 analytical procedures used by the United States and Mexico.
                 The study was conducted in 2006-2007 after discrepancies were
                 noted in the U.S. and Mexican methodologies. The technical
                 group has remained active, and in 2012, it made  site visits to
                 laboratories in both countries  and continued third-party labora-
                 tory analysis.

                 Personnel from the IBWC,  the National Weather Service, TCEQ
                 and CONAGUA have been meeting to discuss means to
                 improve data exchange among the agencies, including ways to
                 automate the reservoir and precipitation  information gathered
                 and distributed by  CONAGUA, which manages upstream
                 reservoirs on Mexican tributaries to the Rio Grande. CONAGUA
                 has provided  information about how to locate on its Web pages
                 the daily bulletins containing precipitation observations and
                 reservoir levels and discharges. The group has discussed the
                 development of a data warehouse hosted by the  U.S. Section
                 of the IBWC, which would  allow agencies in both countries to
                 place and retrieve data.

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                                                   .APTER 4
                 feCv •«»> V^
                                                     ater treatment in this report
                                                     is defined as the treatment
                                                of drinking water and wastewater
                                                to meet applicable standards. In the
                                                United States this usually means state
                                                standards, and all four U.S. border
                                                states have obtained delegation from
                                                the U.S. Environmental Protection
                                                Agency (EPA) under the Safe
                                                Drinking Water Act and the Clean
                                                Water Act (as noted previously in
                                                Chapter 1, EPA must approve and
                                                review state surface water quality
                                                standards). In Mexico, drinking water
                                                and wastewater treatment plants,
                                                which are operated at the state
                                                and local level, must meet federal
                                                standards set by the Mexican National
                                                Water Commission (CONAGUA).

               Communities across the United States have found it
               difficult to keep up with the challenges of providing
               adequate water and wastewater treatment. Emerging
               contaminants in source water from the chemical, health
               and beauty care industries are putting new stresses on
               water treatment facilities (see Chapter 3). Wastewater
               treatment facilities are being asked to meet tighter
               standards on nutrients and toxicity. The costs associ-
               ated with these changes have proven to be particularly
               heavy for small, rural and economically disadvantaged
               communities, such as colonias (see Chapter 1), which
               lack the institutional capacity and  economic critical mass
               to support these requirements. The cost of operating
               a conventional  activated sludge wastewater treatment
               plant has increased from $4 per million gallons per
               day (MGD) in 2003 and 2004 to around $11-12 per
               MGD today.130 Staffing  and operating costs have risen

               There are several factors that make water treatment in
               the border region unique. The area has high rates of
               poverty, and a population that is growing rapidly and is
               highly mobile. Much of the border region experiences
               harsh, arid conditions, punctuated by seasonal heavy
               rainfall, and  must rely on source waters of compromised
               quality due to high total dissolved solids (TDS), arsenic,
               fluoride and other natural contaminants (see Chapter
               3) and, in the United States, the impacts of untreated
               or poorly treated domestic  and industrial wastewater
               coming across the border from Mexico. Additionally, the
               region must contend with the large volume of people
               moving back and forth across the border every day.

               Even where  border residents have access to centralized
               wastewater and drinking water systems (see Chapter 2),
               new regulations can require  costly systems upgrades.
               As discussed in Chapters 1  and 3, arsenic and other
               elements contaminate water and require the costly
               adoption of more stringent drinking water standards.
               Local municipalities and water districts are entering
               collaborative agreements with public and private
 lenders; however, the recent addition of Davis-Bacon
 wage requirements to the State Revolving Fund (SRF)
 program can increase project costs, making  SRF loans
 less attractive.

 Despite the documented need for basic water and
 wastewater services, current grant funding is not at
 previous levels, which leaves many border communi-
 ties with fewer water and wastewater services than
 the rest of the country. Throughout the border  region,
 the need for infrastructure upgrade and replacement,
 as  well  as first time services, is well documented, as
 is the increasing shortage of financial assistance from
 traditional federal and state resources. What has been

Wastewater plant
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                             Water Treatment
 Wastewater 2

documented less well is the border region deficit in
management of the existing infrastructure. Many border
communities have difficulty attracting qualified opera-
tors for their utilities. Border communities often have
underfunded administrative staffs, making them unable
to manage the utilities or their assets. Given the current
funding realities and the unlikelihood of any near-term
changes,  now is an optimal time to re-evaluate and pos-
sibly re-prioritize border infrastructure needs. Programs
are needed that will ensure the endurance of the exist-
ing infrastructure through  enhanced operator training,
enhanced pretreatment programs, asset management
and programs to increase the  financial, managerial and
technical  capacities of border  utilities.

Various case studies are included in this chapter to illus-
trate border water treatment issues. They demonstrate
the complexities of water treatment in a binational

Infrastructure Status and  Needs

Although the Border Environment Cooperation Com-
mission (BECC)-North American Development  Bank
(NADB) has diversified and begun working in new
sectors such as renewable energy and energy efficiency,
the vast majority of the projects certified and financed
continue  to be in the water sector. (See Chapter 1
for a discussion  on the  resources  contributed towards
water projects and programs.) Such projects have
led to significant improvements in public health and
the environment over the past 15 years. Wastewater
collection and treatment has increased  from  21 to 82
percent in Mexico's border communities. Additionally, a
reduction in discharges  by more than 350 MGD has had
a significant impact on downstream U.S. communities.

Even with the significant achievements, great needs
for water and wastewater services still exist in the
border region. The Good Neighbor Environmental
Board (GNEB or Board) previously identified two issues
for immediate priority: (1) provision of freshwater for
human populations and for ecosystem protection and
(2) prevention of contamination of ground and surface
sources of water.131

Drinking Water

Although most border communities have adequate
drinking water, there remain many areas of the border
where the quality and  availability of potable drinking
water continues to be  a major concern.  Factors that
affect the provisioning of drinking water are described
in Chapters 1 through  3 and include greater cost of
regulation compliance, lack of potable water, and  issues
related to drought.

Small communities and small public water systems that
lack some or all of the financial, managerial or technical
capacity to ensure continued treatment of drinking
water to meet Safe Drinking Water Act standards
present a major concern. The challenges faced by small
systems are illustrated  in the border region by the case
of Anthony, New Mexico.

Efforts to avoid  upfront costs often lead to greater
expenses later. Unlike the Anthony Water and Sanitation
District, many small communities cannot afford the
capital costs associated with centralized  reverse osmosis
treatment systems. Also, they lack the institutional
knowledge to operate reverse osmosis systems. For
removing arsenic, these communities typically select
adsorptive media treatment systems to meet the 10 ppb
limit because of relatively lower capital costs and ease
of operation. Adsorptive media systems typically have
high life-cycle costs due to media replacement, which
accounts for 79 percent of the total operation and
maintenance (O&M) cost.132 O&M for adsorptive media
systems also is affected by source water quality and
limited arsenic-adsorptive capacities. Further arsenic
mitigation assistance is needed to achieve compliance.


Water quality in the  border region varies widely, both
for surface and ground water, but often  is generalized
as bad or poor. The region still is characterized by
cross-border flows of inadequately treated wastewater,
affecting  streams, lakes, reservoirs, wetlands and the
near-shore marine environment. Wastewater treatment
has improved over the past 15 years due in part to
projects certified by the BECC and financed by EPA
through the  Border Environment Infrastructure Fund
(BEIF) and funded by other state and federal agencies
on both sides of the border.  Nevertheless,  surface water

                  Water Treatment
Case Study: Water Improvements  Project in  Anthony, New Mexico
Located within the southern portion of
Dona Ana County, New Mexico, the drinking
water in the town of Anthony (population
8,388) was found in recent years to have
elevated concentrations of nitrate and arse-
nic. In 2004, the New Mexico Environment
Department (NMED) conducted testing and
found one of the seven wells to be out of
compliance for nitrate. Results of a 2008
analysis by NMED found arsenic violations
ranging from 11.8 to 16.6 parts per billion
(ppb) in four of the seven district wells,
exceeding the U.S. Environmental  Protection
Agency (EPA) maximum contaminant level
(MCL) for drinking water of 10 ppb (the
standard was lowered in 2001 and enforce-
ment began in  2006; see Chapter 3). As a
result, the Anthony Water and Sanitation
District was cited for violations and required
to treat the well water prior to distribution
to avoid the health risks associated with
human intake of arsenic via drinking water.
Health statistics show a relatively high num-
ber of cases per year in Dona Ana County
of cancers that are sometimes associated
with arsenic contamination. Non-cancer
effects include thickening and discoloration
of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomit-
ing, diarrhea, numbness in hands and feet,
partial paralysis and blindness. Long-term
exposure has been linked to cancer of the
bladder, lungs, skin, kidneys, nasal passages,
liver and prostate. Arsenic also can cross
the placenta and increase the likelihood  of
fetal exposure.

Reducing arsenic concentrations required
rehabilitation of three existing wells and the
new construction/installation of a reverse
osmosis unit with a capacity of 600 gallons
per minute. The cost of the project was
$8.8 million and benefitted 3,100 connec-
tions. North American Development Bank
(NADB)-Border Environment Infrastructure
Fund (BEIF) construction assistance in the
form of a grant covered $2.8 million (37.1%)
of the total cost. In its first year, the costs
for operation and maintenance (O&M) of this
system were about $300K. Projected costs
by its sixth year of operation are expected
to increase to nearly $375K.133 Other sources
of funding for this project included loan
and grant mechanisms from both the New
Mexico Finance Authority (NMFA) and Rural
Development of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) at 14.2 and 54.1 percent
of the total cost, respectively.134

The implementation of this project will
provide sufficient, high-quality water to
meet the needs of the community. It should
be noted that many communities on the
border have faced high costs associated
with compliance with new regulations, and
not all have been able to secure loans and
grants to pay for expensive improvements
needed to meet the more stringent regula-
tory standards.135
      quality still is a concern in many areas, and transboundary flows,
      of both surface waters and ground water, present a unique
      challenge to U.S. border communities.

      A good example of the complexity of transboundary flows
      that affect surface water quality, including wetlands and the
      near-shore marine environment, is the case of the Tijuana River.
      In this complex case, presented in Chapter 3, water from the
      binational Tijuana watershed in Mexico, including stormwater,
      has affected the sensitive Tijuana River estuary and state park
      in the United States, as well as ocean water quality in Imperial
      Beach, California.

      Infrastructure  Funding

      Following the passage of the Clean Water Act, the U.S. federal
      government provided  infrastructure funding through its national
      Construction Grants program. This program helped communities
      throughout the United States meet infrastructure needs.  In 1989,
      the Construction Grants program was replaced with the SRFs.  It
      now has been more than 20 years since the close of Construc-
      tion Grants and much  of the infrastructure built with those
      grants is in need of upgrade or replacement.  Border communi-
      ties in particular have had difficulty meeting their infrastructure
      needs, with or without SRF assistance.

      For this reason, EPA's Border Water Infrastructure Program
      (BWIP) began offering  construction grants to border communi-
      ties through the Project Development Assistance Program
      (PDAP) and BEIF in  1997. Over the past 5 years, BWIP, which
                          is managed by NADB, has seen its annual operating budget
                          shrink by 90 percent (from $50 million per year to $5 million).
                          As noted in prior GNEB reports and Chapter 1  of this report,
                          the BEIF received $100 million per year in the 1990s. The BWIP
                          biennial projects solicitation has demonstrated repeatedly that
                          infrastructure needs in the border outstrip available funds by
                          hundreds of millions of dollars.

                          Working to Address Untreated or
                          Inadequately Treated  Wastewater to
                          Improve  Water Quality in  Binational

                          As discussed and highlighted previously in this  report,
                          watersheds that cross political jurisdictions can share water
                          infrastructure. Where those watersheds cross the U.S.-Mexico
                          border, wastewater treatment plants may receive sewage and
                          discharges generated by residential, commercial and industrial
                          users located across political boundaries. In  addition, wastewater
                          treatment facilities located in both the United States and Mexico
                          discharge treated effluent across political boundaries. This makes
                          O&M of these  plants dependent on the policies and practices
                          of both countries. The rapid  growth of industry and population
                          in  Mexico's northern border region has brought this issue into
                          focus as  it  relates to the quality of shared water resources.

                          One such example is the case of Ambos Nogales (Nogales,
                          Sonora and Nogales, Arizona).
      The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                              Water Treatment
  Case Study:  Resolving a Binational Water Quality Issue—the Nuevo Laredo Wastewater Treatment Plant
  In the late 1980s, the poor water quality
  of the Rio Grande was gaining attention
  from nearby populations because the river
  exceeded both Mexican and U.S.  standards
  for bacteria and other contaminants.
  Residents on the U.S. side of the border
  pointed to inadequately treated industrial
  and domestic sewage that entered the river
  from the Mexican side of the border.136 Texas
  residents in Laredo expressed concerns
  about an estimated 21 to 27 million gallons
  of raw sewage entering the Rio Grande
  in Nuevo Laredo from 31 discharge points
  each day.137

  The United States and Mexico agreed to
  solve the problem through a collection and
  treatment system, including a wastewater
  treatment plant with secondary treatment
  of sewage. The formal development of
  a wastewater treatment plant in Nuevo
  Laredo began after the two sections of
  the  International Boundary and Water
  Commission (IBWC), the United States
  and Mexico, signed Minute 279 in 1989.138
  The plant officially was dedicated in 1996,
  with a total project cost of $60 million.139
  Although the plant was built in Mexico, the
  United  States shared the cost with the State
  of Texas alone contributing $2 million after
  the  legislature appropriated funds. The final
  installment of $500,000 from Texas was
  not  provided to the IBWC until July 2000,
  when Texas was assured that operation
  and maintenance (O&M) for the plant was
  adequate.140 A  ceremony recognizing final
  project completion was held in September
Over the next few years, tests found that
even though the discharge from the plant
met water quality standards, deterioration
and reduced capacity of the collection
lines meant that not all sewage in the lines
was getting to the treatment plant before
entering the river. On  July 30, 2004, the
Border Environment Cooperation Commis-
sion (BECC) certified a new  project, entitled
"Improvements to the Water and Sewer
System in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas," to
tie in the extra lines. Sponsored by Nuevo
Laredo's Water and Wastewater Utility
(Comision Municipal de Agua Potable y
Alcantarillado de Nuevo Laredo [COMAPA]),
the project consisted of rehabilitating the
sewer system, constructing a new treatment
plant, and expanding and rehabilitating
the water distribution  system, as well as
separating stormwater and wastewater lines.
The total cost was $57.7 million, with about
40 percent of the funding coming from
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's
(EPA) Border Environment Infrastructure
Fund (BEIF) and North American Develop-
ment Bank (NADB) loans.141

The BECC stated binational benefits would

1. "The elimination of  wastewater discharges
  to the  Rio Grande caused  by the dete-
  rioration of the mainline of the sewage
  collection  system. This will result in
  environmental benefits for both countries.

2. A more efficient and rational use of water
  as proposed by this project evidences
  the willingness of Mexican authorities,
  especially those  of Nuevo Laredo, to
  abide by water distribution agreements
  between Mexico and the United States.

3. Investments will  be made in water
  projects to increase water use efficiency
  by reducing per  capita water use and
  making a more rational use of the scarce
  volume of water obtained from the Rio

4. Institutional capacity building actions will
  provide for increased operation and com-
  mercial efficiency of COMAPA, creating a
  comprehensive water culture to achieve
  the city's sustainable development."141

To further eliminate wastewater discharg-
ing into the river, in June 2006, the joint
BECC-NADB Board certified another major
project for Nuevo Laredo. This $44 million
project will build a new storm drainage
system of six stormwater collectors and a
stormwater channel. As of March 31, 2012,
one of the stormwater collectors had been

The Nuevo Laredo  project illustrates how
cooperation  between the United States
and Mexico through the assistance  of EPA,
IBWC, BECC-NADB, and the involvement
of  the State of Texas,  has helped resolve a
binational water quality discharge issue.143
Raw sewage mixed with stormwater and treated with chlorine tablets
flows past sandbags in the Nogales Wash used as a bypass for the di-
lapidated International Outfall Interceptor (101). The bypass of sewage
into the Nogales Wash in Arizona was undertaken to facilitate repairs
of the 101 at the border with Mexico. A dam designed to divert flows
back into the 101 was breached by stormwater. Wastewater mixed with
stormwater and flowed in an unlined channel as far north as the Santa
Cruz River in Rio Rico, 8 miles north of this site (October 28, 2010).
Source: Hans Huth, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Border Environmental Protection.
                 Damaged section of 24" diameter sewer pipe removed at the De Con-
                 cini Port of Entry. The scour of the wastewater infrastructure in Ari-
                 zona resulted from the introduction of sediment in Nogales, Sonora.
                 This location is at manhole 1 in Arizona, immediately downstream of
                 the border with Mexico (October 28, 2010).

                  Water Treatment
Case Study: Am bos Nogales
Note: Due to ongoing litigation involving local, state and federal agencies, certain information related to this case study has
been omitted.
The two cities that make up Ambos Nogales
(Spanish for "both Nogales") are located 65
miles south of Tucson, Arizona, in the upper
Santa Cruz River watershed. In Nogales,
Sonora, Mexico's 2010 census  recorded a
population of about 220,000 with a growth
rate of 3.2 percent.1 In Nogales, Arizona, the
U.S. 2010 census population was  20,837,
less than 10  percent of the population of its
sister city  to the south.2  The rapid growth
of industry and population in Mexico's
northern border region has placed increased
pressure on wastewater and stormwater
infrastructure shared by  both countries.3 The
City of Nogales, Arizona, is seeking federal
responsibility of border infrastructure where
impairments are recognized as originating
in Mexico.

Nogales, Arizona, is an example of a U.S.
border city that shares infrastructure with
Mexico. International Boundary and Water
Commission (IBWC) Minute 276 allows
Mexico to  deliver  up to 9.9 MOD  of its
wastewater to the Nogales International
Wastewater Treatment Plant (NIWTP) in Rio
Rico, Arizona.4 This volume received  from
Mexico represents the majority (77%) of the
wastewater treated at  the plant, and the
IBWC, U.S. Section, receives reimbursement
from Mexico for a portion of the  opera-
tion and maintenance  (O&M) costs of the
NIWTP.5 When the NIWTP was relocated to
its present site in  1972 at the request of the
City of Nogales, Arizona, construction costs
were borne by the U.S. and Mexican govern-
ments and the City of Nogales, Arizona. The
city reimburses the IBWC for a portion of
the O&M at the NIWTP.6

The International Outfall  Interceptor (IOI) is
the main conveyance that transfers sewage
to the NIWTP. Although  this infrastructure
is binational, different  regulatory  standards
for stormwater management and industrial
discharges in Sonora create stresses on the
infrastructure and ambient water quality in
the binational watershed. Resulting chal-
lenges for the Arizona border communities

1. Construction and O&M issues in Sonora
  have resulted in multiple cross-border
  sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that
  affect the Nogales Wash in  Arizona.
  Although the incidence of SSOs has
  decreased significantly in proportion
  to binational investments in Sonoran
  infrastructure, the SSOs continue, often as
  a result  of a lack of infrastructure
  management (e.g., recent road/bridge

2. U.S. federal agencies have recognized
  that the IOI  is seriously compromised
  and that the primary cause of wear
  is scour due to Sonoran  wastewater
  carrying heavy sediment loads. Combined
  (sanitary sewer and stormwater) practices
  in Sonora contribute to sediment-related
  scour in the IOI. Sediment scour has
  undermined the integrity of the IOI in
  certain places, putting border communi-
  ties at risk.

3. The Nogales Wash is the main stormwater
  conveyance for the Ambos Nogales
  watershed. A section of the Nogales
  Wash surveyed by the U.S. Army Corps
  of Engineers (Corps) in 2007 indicated
  that the concrete  bottom of the channel
  had lost half of its thickness.7 In 2008,
  the Corps concluded that the "perfor-
  mance [of the box section] under current
  imposed loads is very unpredictable and
  a hazardous condition" due to scour
  associated with stormwater.8 Past failures
  of the wash  have  resulted in at least
  one significant disruption to international
  railroad commerce.9

4. Sections of the IOI are located under the
  engineered portion of the Nogales Wash
  in Arizona. Historic failures of the Nogales
  Wash panels have increased the risk of
  a rupture of the IOI.910 A breach of the
  IOI would result in a major sewer spill
  impacting Arizona and the Santa Cruz
  River  in the  United States.

• In response to these challenges, the U.S.
  federal government has spent millions of
  dollars in the last  several years to support
  the community in  addressing these chal-
  lenges in a  variety of ways, including:

• Repaired damaged sections of the
  Nogales Wash following  emergency

• Sealed joints in the concrete channel of the
  Nogales Wash to extend their life and to
  reduce the likelihood of damage to the  IOI.

• Under emergency conditions, repaired
  a damaged section of the IOI at the
  international border.

• Installed a flood warning system in
  Nogales, Sonora.
• Provided chlorine to Mexico for disinfec-
  tion of SSOs in the Nogales Wash before
  they arrive in the United States.

• Prepared a scope of work for a study to
  assess and design upgrades to the IOI.

• Appropriated $750K in matching funds  to
  plan, design and construct improvements
  to the IOI, (appropriations have not been
  spent because matching funds have not
  been  provided).

• Convened binational pretreatment meet-
  ings and published pretreatment  reports
  discussing efforts to control industrial
  discharges into the sewer systems in
  Ambos Nogales.

Several immediate needs include:

1. The last evaluation of  the Nogales Wash
  was conducted by the Corps in 2008. A
  re-evaluation is needed that considers
  options for increasing  flow capacity and
  identification of new areas with dilapida-
  tion; failure to do so poses risks to public
  health and disruption of international

2. The entire IOI  requires evaluation
  and repair to minimize the inflow and
  infiltration that is damaging the treatment
  performance of the NIWTP.

3. Repair and/or relocation of the IOI from
  the Nogales Wash is needed to prevent
  rupture and the ensuing public health

Continued and enhanced attention to these
needs, while protecting new investments
in infrastructure, will require new and
innovative coordination among local, state
and federal governments in the United
States and Mexico. This collaboration can
include studies of specific examples of
cross-border surface water contamination
and the development of  actions to address
them. Associated strategies already have
been exercised by Arizona, yielding positive
results as outlined in a 2011 report prepared
for the Arizona  Mexico Commission. As
the Ambos Nogales case study illustrates,
the management of border wastewater
infrastructure requires proactive U.S. federal
government engagement that includes the
participation of all binational stakeholders in
shared watersheds.
       Protecting Infrastructure Investments
       to  Maintain Water Quality  in U.S. and
       Binational Waters

       Water and wastewater treatment facilities are costly and only
       part of an overall program designed to protect and maintain
       water quality in  border water systems. Pretreatment programs
       remove harmful  pollutants from wastewater discharged by
                          commercial and industrial facilities before it enters the waste-
                          water collection system to protect the systems, the wastewater
                          treatment plant, the receiving water and the resulting sludge.
                          In addition, proper O&M of wastewater treatment plants,
                          including periodic training on O&M  and compliance  assurance,
                          help protect investments in water and wastewater infrastructure.
                          Along the U.S.-Mexico border, collaborative program design,
                          training and compliance checks may involve federal,  state, tribal

                          and local partners from both sides of the border.
       The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                             Water Treatment
Case Study:  The New River
The New River originates in the Mexicali
Valley, about 13 miles south of the City of
Mexicali, Mexico, enters the United States
by the West Port of Entry in the City of
Calexico, California, and then empties into
the Salton Sea,  California's largest inland
lake.144 The New River sub-watershed drains
about 175,000 acres from Imperial Valley
and 300,000 acres from  the Mexicali Valley,
Mexico,  which includes the metropolitan
area of  Mexicali—a city with  a population of
1,000,000 people.144

The New River began to  be widely rec-
ognized for significant water pollution
problems in the 1950s, primarily because of
the odor of raw sewage.144 Pollution sources
have included untreated municipal sewage
from Mexicali, industrial discharges, effluent
from municipal wastewater treatment plants,
and agricultural irrigation runoff on both
sides of the border.144 By the 1970s and
1980s, the sewage pipes  in Mexicali were
dilapidated and collapsing and the existing
wastewater treatment facilities lacked the
necessary treatment capacity to handle the
sewage  generated in Mexicali. The problem
was magnified by insufficient institutional
capacity. For example, sewage collectors
were not routinely maintained, treatment
plants were not sufficiently staffed, and
there was no pretreatment program in
place. All of these shortcomings resulted in
routine  bypasses and discharges of 10-15
millions  of gallons per day (MOD) of raw
sewage  into the New River. Consequently,
the New River acquired the dubious reputa-
tion of being one of the most polluted
rivers in the United States, with many
of the pollutants posing a serious threat
to public health and contributing to the
degradation of the Salton Sea. Since the
1990s, significant binational efforts have
been undertaken to improve water quality
conditions in the New River as it enters  the
United States.

In the case of New River pollution from
Mexico,  pollution prevention  and managing
pollution at the sources made economic and
policy sense. Following project certification
from the Border Environment Cooperation
Commission (BECC) and  completion of
a financing plan  by the North American
Development Bank (NADB),  a series of
sewer infrastructure projects began to be
implemented in 1998 to improve water qual-
ity of the New River as it enters the United
States.145 In 1992, International Boundary
and Water  Commission (IBWC)  Minute 288
established a long-term sanitation strategy
for the New River water quality problems at
the International Boundary, and divided  the
sanitation projects into Immediate Repairs
(i.e., "emergency fixes"),  the Mexicali I, and
the Mexicali II projects.146

The Immediate Repairs Project addressed
critical deficiencies in existing facilities,
including rehabilitating and replacing lift
and pump stations, relining and replacing
collection lines, and dredging wastewater
treatment plant lagoons. The Border
Environment Infrastructure Fund (BEIF)
contributed $4.2 million to the Immediate
Repairs Project, which cost more than
$7.6 million in  total. The Mexican match
provided $3.4  million.147 Additionally, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
contributed about $6 million to planning
activities leading to the Immediate Repairs
Project, Mexicali I and Mexicali II projects.148
The subsequent Mexicali I Project, certified
in 1998, consisted of 19 components to
improve the collection and treatment of
wastewater in  the fully developed Mexicali
I  area. BEIF funds contributed $20.6 million
to the total project cost of $55 million.
The Mexicali II Project, comprised of the
"Las Arenitas" wastewater treatment plant
situated in an  uninhabited area 16 miles
(26 km) south of Mexicali, was certified
in September 2003 with a total project
cost of $30 million. Construction of the
plant was completed in 2007.148 Currently,
further enhancements to the Las Arenitas
Plant include engineered wetlands that are
being constructed to treat the wastewater
treatment plant effluent prior to discharge
into the Hardy River.

Overall, EPA contributed nearly one-half
of the $98.6 million cost of the Mexicali
wastewater projects,148 and the Mexican
government contributed the remainder
of the funds. Already, these projects are
serving an estimated 635,000 people in
Mexicali, and have resulted in the treatment
of approximately 40  MOD of raw sewage
that were discharged routinely into the New
River. Once it was built, however, it was
crucial that the infrastructure be properly
operated and maintained to protect the
investment and ensure that the quality of
the river significantly improved. The Mexicali
water/wastewater utility (Comision Estatal
de Servicios Publicos de Mexicali [CESPM])
owns and operates the sewage infrastruc-
ture and has enhanced substantially its
institutional capacity ever since the projects
began to be implemented. CESPM has
achieved this by:

1. Staffing  its wastewater treatment plants
  with qualified personnel.

2. Periodically  conducting surveillance and
  testing of the sewage collectors to ensure
  pretreatment programs are working and
  that the infrastructure, personnel and the
  environment are protected.

3. Building an  analytical laboratory at the
  new wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)
  for process control and to ensure compli-
  ance with its discharge permits.

4. Increasing accountability and transpar-
  ency by making readily available to the
  public the plants' discharge quality and
  compliance  data.
5. Providing stand-by portable generators
  and pumping equipment to prevent and
  minimize bypasses of raw sewage into
  the river.

6. Providing ongoing training and profes-
  sional development of personnel.

All of these have been crucial in protecting
the U.S. investment and have contributed
to  a substantial overall improvement of the
quality of the New River as it enters the
United States.

Although there remains much to be done to
ensure the  New River meets its water qual-
ity standards, water quality data collected
by the California Regional  Water Quality
Control (WQC) Board, Colorado River Basin,
indicate that the levels of decomposable
organic matter polluting the river decreased
by nearly 30,000 pounds per day—an
overall pollution load reduction of nearly
70 percent. The projects and their proper
operation and  maintenance (O&M) also are
credited with the removal and  treatment of
the municipal raw sewage  that contributed
to  the river's dubious  reputation. The data
of  the WQC Board and the U.S. Section of
the IBWC (USIBWC) also indicate that the
levels of pathogen-indicator organisms in
the New River at the U.S. border and the
amount of phosphates adversely affecting
the Salton Sea have decreased substantially
following project completion and implemen-
tation. Fecal coliform levels can be variable
but overall  levels have dropped by more
than 80 percent.

The bilateral agreement to the North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
that created the BECC and NADB provides
for financing opportunities to develop and
implement structural controls to address
pollution of binational water bodies all
across the border, including New River
pollution in Mexico. The State of California
and the State of Baja California actively
participated in the BECC certification
program to develop and implement sanita-
tion projects for the Mexicali I  and Mexicali
II service areas and by extension, address
New River pollution from Mexico.

Binational Technical Committee meetings
hosted by USIBWC are held on a frequent
basis to discuss environmental issues affect-
ing both countries, monitor progress of
projects along the New River, and tour the
region to observe the issues still affecting
water quality. Industrial pollutants are being
addressed by the government agencies in
the region, namely the Mexican National
Water Commission (CONAGUA), by imple-
menting industrial pretreatment programs,
such as PROSANEAR, by working with  the
regulated community to raise awareness of
the issues, and by participating in binational
meetings to provide updates on current
projects and introduce future projects.

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               Review of  Recommendations
               from  Prior GNEB Reports on

               In its 8th report (2005),  Water Resources Management
               on the U.S.-Mexico Border, the Good Neighbor Envi-
               ronmental Board (GNEB or Board) identified numerous
               challenges of working in international watersheds.
               Those challenges remain in 2012. As the 8th report
               noted, "Effective management of water resources is
               less  than straightforward virtually everywhere, but in
               the U.S.-Mexico border region,  it might be said that
               the task is particularly challenging. An arid climate, the
               presence of poverty, rapid population growth, aging
               infrastructure, an international border, and laws in both
               countries that were put into place in earlier times under
               different circumstances are just a few of the potential

               In 2005, the GNEB identified a number of water supply
               barriers related to working in international watersheds
               along the U.S.-Mexico border, which are summarized

               •  Lack of a  management framework for ground
                 water. No legal regimes or institutions currently  exist
                 for managing water quality, supply or pumping of
                 aquifers that cross the border, and existing U.S.-
                 Mexico water treaties do not regulate the distribution
                 of ground water between the two countries.

               •  Binational funding challenges. Demand for water
                 infrastructure on the border has greatly exceeded the
                 available funding.

               •  Different legal and institutional frameworks. In
                 both the United States and Mexico, the federal
                 government establishes and can enforce laws related
                 to water quality. In  Mexico, the federal government
                 manages water rights while in the United States, the
                 states have this responsibility.
• Data collection and management challenges. Data
  gaps exist on water quantity and quality, especially
  ground water. There also are different methods and
  units of measurement used in compiling and express-
  ing data,  which makes comparison difficult, both
  within the United States and internationally. Another
  barrier is  inaccessibility of data. Different water user
  sectors, such as industry and residential, may be
  reluctant  to share data across the border for fear of
  losing their current water shares to other water users
  due to different national or local water priorities.
  The issue of sovereignty also may contribute to a
  reluctance to share data between the two  nations, as
  well as shortage of resources that can make it difficult
  to transfer the information.

• "Piecemeal" implementation of watershed or
  basin-wide projects. Water management at the U.S.-
  Mexico border would benefit from an institutionalized,
  basin-wide approach.

Recent Progress and Ongoing

To address  the identified barriers, the GNEB 8th Report
proposed a number of "Next Steps" that are recapped
below. Although some progress has been made,
concerns remain in all of the proposed areas.

Promote binational sharing of information  about
transboundary aquifers. Devote more resources to
data collection, especially ground water data. The
Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Act authorized $50
million over 10 years and directed the Secretary of the
Interior to establish a program to study transbound-
ary aquifers between the United States and Mexico.
Substantial  actions have been taken towards this end;
however, the program has been funded to date for a
total of $2 million (no funding was provided  in fiscal
year [FY] 2011-2012). The Mexican government,
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                              Review and Recommendations
however, has financed and completed studies in
Mexican territory (see Chapter 2).

Restore the annual Border Environment Infrastructure
Fund (BEIF) at $100 million to help meet the needs
for border water and wastewater infrastructure. In
FY 2007-2012, the Border Water Infrastructure  Program
(BWIP) operating budget has declined from $50 million
to $5 million.

Encourage the North American Development Bank
(NADB) to develop additional lending vehicles. As
of August 2012, NADB had a total of $600.6 million
in outstanding loans and loan commitments, and had
an additional $661 million in grant disbursements and
commitments.149 Although NADB utilized a  Low Interest
Rate Lending Facility (LIRF) in the past, the  tool was
not sustainable as a sole alternative lending vehicle and
has long been inactive. As NADB does not anticipate
transacting any LIRF loans in the near future, it should
consider other types of alternative lending mechanisms/
assistance (see Chapter  1).

Fully exploit current institutional missions and the
current  legal framework. The 8th Report cited as an
example the change in policy that allowed the Border
Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC)-NADB
to support projects within 300 km of the U.S. border
in Mexico, three times more than the 100 km that was
allowed  previously.

Develop binational data protocols and apply them.
Build capacity and trust, ensure that surface and
ground  water data along the U.S.-Mexico  border are
made available quickly after collection and Quality
Assurance. Establish an annual U.S.-Mexico Water
Quality  Data Exchange. Improve data exchange and
transparency for large watersheds covering multiple
states and jurisdictions. The International Boundary
and Water Commission (IBWC) has been working on the
development of a Geographic Information System for the
border region to prepare and provide information using
consistent databases pertaining to natural resources,
basins, rivers, demarcation of the international  bound-
ary, and  other topics. U.S. agencies, including the U.S.
Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), with the Mexican National
Water Commission (CONAGUA) and the National Insti-
tute  of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) from Mexico,
are participating in the dissemination and exchange
of data,  as well as the development of a network to
distribute information. Water quality and quantity data
already have been uploaded into the system and will
be available through an  Internet Web portal in 2012.
Federal  agencies from both countries also have worked
to harmonize sampling and analytic procedures used to
determine the salinity of waters of the Colorado River.

Enhance binational watershed planning. Increase
institutional support  for local planning efforts in
smaller watersheds. Advances in watershed planning
have been made in specific communities. The  USGS
has been working with the IBWC on a project  in the
Santa Cruz Watershed at the Arizona-Sonora border.
The effort included the transfer to Mexico of weather
monitoring and stream gauge equipment provided by
the USGS to monitor  conditions in Mexican headwaters.
The equipment is part of a collaborative effort to jointly
monitor, track and develop strategies for mitigation
of floods and associated damage. The Tijuana River
Valley Recovery Team, which includes participants from
government agencies in Mexico and the United States,
completed its recovery strategy document at the San
Diego, California-Tijuana, Baja  California border (see
Chapter 3, Case Study: Ready  for Action - Watershed-
Based Approaches for Restoration and Recovery: The
Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team). The document
recommends construction of sediment basins and
trash capture devices  in the United States and Mexico,
improvement of cross-border communication,  and
environmental restoration activities.

In addition to its  recommendations in prior reports, the
GNEB recommended  addressing the continued impacts
of nonpoint source pollution in watersheds in  its May
2009 letter. California  has begun  by funding watershed
planning efforts and establishing total maximum daily
loads (TMDL) limits and regulations.

Recommendations of the
15th  Report

I. Increase  Collaboration and

Where specific water sanitation and quantity issues
arise involving binational water bodies, the GNEB
recommends that the  U.S. federal government con-
vene groups that include the government of Mexico,
stakeholders in Mexico, border states, tribal and local
governments, and citizens to solve these problems.

I.A. Concerning Management and
     Planning, the GNEB recommends:

• The U.S.  federal government enhance binational
  watershed planning and increase institutional support
  and technical assistance for local planning efforts in
  smaller watersheds.
         r   m
         - -v
         •-* -* J

                     Review and Recommendations
should continue
to lead
ivith Mexico on
finding common
areas for the
management of
shared water
The U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Section of the IBWC (USIBWC)
and the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) con-
tinue to take a cooperative binational approach to watershed
level management. This includes the USIBWC continuing to
lead discussions with  Mexico on finding  common areas for the
sustainable management of shared water resources, including
protection of the quality of life and the environment in both

The U.S. Department of the Interior continue to provide
institutional support to the  Colorado River Basin Water Supply
and Demand  Study and other efforts to  gain information for
better management of border watersheds and water bodies,
and then ensure that  the solutions examined and adopted in
such studies include those that  promote healthy river flows in
the Lower Basin. This would include dissemination by the U.S.
Department of the Interior of results of the Colorado River
Basin Water Supply and Demand Study  to stakeholders in
other border watersheds.

The U.S. federal natural resource agencies and  the IBWC
develop metrics and models for environmental flows for use
in water planning  to obtain lessons learned for potential  use
in other border watersheds, recognizing  the sovereignty of
U.S. states regarding water rights. The information that is
           needed includes analysis of the range of flow
           characteristics, such as  peak flow and monthly
           flow variation, and base flows to support plan-
           ning  for  allocations, wildlife habitat needs,
           recreation and treatment capacity.
            •   The USIBWC continue to facilitate binational,
            multi-stakeholder efforts to improve water quality
            in binational water bodies.
            •   The U.S. federal government continue to
            develop and implement programs that assist
            utilities, municipalities and industrial and agri-
            cultural interests to achieve water conservation
            objectives. The U.S. federal government should
            make these programs functional at multiple
scales, for example,  by integrating basin-level initiatives with
on-farm technical assistance.

The BECC and NADB continue to assist applicants to develop
water conservation efforts, including those to be implemented
in times of drought,  through their technical assistance and
other programs, and EPA continue to incorporate water and
energy conservation  actions into its cooperative agreements
with the BECC-NADB.

U.S. federal agencies, particularly the USIBWC, Bureau
of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, National
RG Conchos Confluence Aerial Crop

   Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S.
   Fish and Wildlife Service  (USFWS) and U.S. Forest Service,
   continue to provide coordinated institutional support for
   water and drought management along the border, including
   assisting planners in developing future-use scenarios based on
   environmental limitations and historical drought conditions.

 •  EPA and the IBWC work to strengthen partnerships with
   Mexico to improve pretreatment of wastewater discharges
   in shared watersheds, as well as to manage stormwater and
   nonpoint source discharges from municipalities.

 •  EPA and the Indian Health Service (IMS) continue to assist
   tribes in building capacity  to develop greater recognition and
   regulatory authority over tribal waters.

 •  EPA, as stipulated in Minute 304,150 continue to ensure that
   state and municipal governments participate in pertinent
   project planning and development meetings, and that EPA
   allow state and municipal governments to participate in  the
   annual  Minute 304 meetings with the IBWC and CONAGUA.

 I.B. Concerning Data Acquisition and Sharing,
      the GNEB recommends:

 •  U.S. federal agencies within the U.S. Department of the
   Interior and the USDA develop and sign formal U.S.-Mexico
   border  region water resources data agreements that will
   support the collection, analysis and sharing of compatible
   surface and ground water  data across a wide range of uses
   to promote transparency, increase  data utility and help ensure
   that border water resources are managed effectively.

 •  U.S. federal agencies, such as the  USGS, Bureau of Reclama-
   tion and USFWS, as well as  Mexican stakeholders and tribal
   partners, should participate in  U.S. state environmental flow
   reviews. Where no U.S. state environmental flow review or
          The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                              Review and Recommendations
  process is occurring, these federal agencies should convene
  basin-wide analyses of environmental flows that are devel-
  oped with  Mexican, state and tribal partners to help  identify
  the quantity, timing and quality of flows and beneficiaries of
  these ecosystem services. These analyses should be shared
  with U.S. state environmental flow reviews when and  if they

• More resources be made available to local ground water
  conservation districts,  state agencies and the USGS to
  enhance the coordination and data collection activities cur-
  rently under way. The additional data collected will enhance
  the understanding  of the effects of an increase in ground
  water pumping on ground water levels near the U.S.-Mexico
  border in Texas, especially in counties like Webb and Mav-
  erick that lack local ground water conservation districts and
  have experienced significant recent oil and gas exploration

II. Reduce Discharge into Border Water

The GNEB recommends:

• The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  and Bureau of Land Management identify and encourage
  land use practices  that  reduce sediment entering border
  water bodies.

• The NRCS address, in consultation with states, the control
  of nitrate contamination of surface and ground water in the
  border region.

• The U.S. Department of Energy work in  concert with EPA
  and the U.S. Department of Commerce  to update permit-
  ting processes for electricity generators that are  expanding
  their capacity and  services, and to provide technical support
  to assist these generators in implementing suitable practices.

• The IBWC, EPA and U.S. state and municipal environmental
  agencies facilitate  sharing of industrial pre-treatment pro-
  grams with Mexican federal, state and local water agencies.

• The Water Policy Group of the Border 2020 program
  encourage measures to protect shared infrastructure  and the
  environment in binational watersheds.

• The Border 2020 Water and Waste Groups work to protect
  border watersheds through improved management of waste
  on both sides of the border.

• The U.S. federal government develop and/or implement
  models to  estimate nutrient load and transport that informs
  the efficacy of sediment conservation practices.
III. Improve  Drinking and Wastewater

The GNEB recommends:

• The U.S. federal government continue to assist in building
  institutional capacity on both sides of the border to ensure
  reliable operation and maintenance of municipal wastewater
  treatment facilities and collection systems, through resources
  such as NADB's  Utility Management Institute. In addition, the
  government expand NADB's Operator Training Pilot program
  in Mexico that incorporates best practices from both the
  American Water Works Association and National Sewerage

• The U.S. federal government work with Mexico to repair
  and replace border infrastructure to separate wastewater from
  stormwater, and  provide emergency backup power to provide
  redundancy and reliability to border treatment plants.

• The IBWC and EPA work to raise stakeholder awareness
  of the impacts of inadequate wastewater management on
  binational watersheds and, through the study of specific
  examples of transboundary surface water contamination, sup-
  port appropriate and consistent management of wastewater
  infrastructure, including conveyances, to ensure protection of
  our shared water resources.

IV. Address  Financial  Needs

The GNEB recommends:

• The BECC and  NADB continue to provide funding for water
  management and planning, specifically for water conservation
  and drought management efforts.

• The U.S. federal government devote more resources to data
  collection, especially of ground water data, including fulfilling
  its commitment to the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment
  Program (TAAP).

• The BECC-NADB and relevant agencies increase opportuni-
  ties for economically disadvantaged border communities to
  obtain funding through grants, cost-share agreements and
  low-interest loans,  supported by financial, managerial and
  technical assistance. Additional attention must be given to
  small and rural drinking water service areas unable to meet
  the  challenges of treating water to meet new standards for
  arsenic, fluoride  and uranium.

• The Joint Board of Directors of the BECC and NADB con-
  sider additional lending vehicles, such as subsidized lending,
  revolving  loan funds and the ability to refinance debt.



Glossary of Acronyms and  Abbreviations

Border Initiative










La Paz Agreement
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
Arizona Department of Water Resources
acre-feet per year
Active Management Area
American Society of Civil Engineers
Arizona Water Banking Authority
Beaches Environmental Assessment and
Coastal Health (Act)
Border Environment Cooperation Commission
Border Environment Infrastructure Fund
Bureau of Indian Affairs
best management practices
biological oxygen demand
Border Community Capital Initiative
Border Water Infrastructure Program (EPA)
Causal Analysis/Diagnosis Decision
Information System
California Environmental Protection Agency
Community Assistance Program
Community Development Block Grant
Comprehensive Environmental  Response,
Compensation and Liability Act
Comision Estatal de Servicios Publicos de
Conservation Innovation Grants
Comision Municipal de Agua Potable y
Alcantarillado de Nuevo Laredo
National Water Commission (Mexico)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Clean Rivers Program  (Texas)
Clean Water Indian Set Aside program (EPA)
Clean Water State Revolving Fund
Division of Financial Assistance
Department of Water  Resources (California)
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund
Emergency Community Water Assistance
Economically Distressed Areas  Program
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
hydraulic fracturing
Forest Service
fiscal year
geographic information system
Good Neighbor Environmental Board
U.S. Department of Health and Human
U.S. Department of Housing and  Urban
Integrated  Border Environmental Plan for the
U.S.-Mexican Border
International Boundary and Water
Indian Health Service
Irrigation Non-expansion Area
El Institute Nacional de Estadistica,  Geograffa
e Informatica
International Outfall Interceptor
Agreement for the Protection and Improve-
ment of the Environment in the Border Area




Regional Water Board
SB 3


State Water Board



WQC Board

Low Interest Rate Lending Facility
maximum contaminant limit
million gallons per day
North American Development Bank
North American Free Trade Agreement
non-governmental organization
National Integrated Drought  Information
Nogales International Wastewater Treatment
New Mexico Environment Department
New Mexico Finance Authority
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric
U.S. National Park Service
U.S. National Resources Conservation Service
National Streamflow Information Program
U.S. National Weather Service
operation and maintenance
Project Development Assistance Program
parts per billion
Regional Water Quality Control Board
Rural Utilities Service
Senate Bill 3
Sanitation Deficiency System
Division of Sanitation Facilities Construction
Secretarfa del Medio Ambiente y Recursos
Secretarfa del Medio Ambiente, Recursos
Naturales y Pesca
State Revolving Fund
sanitary sewer overflow
Sanitation Tracking and Reporting System
State Water Resources Control  Board
Substantially Underserved Trust Areas
Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program
Tribal Border Infrastructure
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
total  dissolved solids
total  maximum daily load
Tohono O'odham Nation
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Water Development Board
U.S. Department of Agriculture
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey
United States Section of the  IBWC
Sustain and Manage America's  Resources for
Water Conservation Field  Services and Water
Water and Environmental  Programs (USDA)
Water Infrastructure Finance Authority
Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality
Control Board
Water Resources Research Institute
wastewater treatment plant
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

2012 Members of the Good Neighbor  Environmental Board
Diane Austin, Ph.D. (Chair)
Associate Research Anthropologist
Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology
University of Arizona

Cecilia E. Aguillon
Director, Market Development and Government Relations
KYOCERA Solar, Inc.

Jose Angel
Assistant Executive Officer
California River Basin Region Water Quality Control
  Board-Colorado River Basin Region

Evaristo Cruz
Environmental Management Office
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo

Veronica Garcia
Deputy Director, Waste Programs Division
Arizona Department of Environmental Quality

David Henkel, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
University of New Mexico
Community and Regional Planning Program
School of Architecture and Planning

Monique La Chappa
Campo Kumeyaay Tribe

Stephen M. Niemeyer, RE.
Border Affairs  Manager and Colonias Coordinator
Intergovernmental Relations Division
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

Luis Olmedo
Executive Director
Comite Civico Del Valle, Inc.

Mike Ortega
Cochise County Administrator
Board of Supervisors

Luis E. Ramirez, M.S.F.S.
Ramirez Advisors Inter-National,  LLC

Cyrus B.H.  Reed, Ph.D.
Conservation Director
Sierra Club, Lone Star Chapter

Thomas Ruiz,  M.S.
Border/Environmental Justice Liaison
Office of General Counsel  & Environmental Policy
New Mexico Environment Department

Nathan P. Small
Conservation Coordinator
New Mexico Wilderness Alliance

Timothy Trevino
Senior Director of Strategic Planning & Agency Communications
Alamo Area Council of Governments

Mike Vizzier
Chief, Hazardous Materials Division, Environmental Health
San Diego County

Antonio Noe  Zavaleta,  Ph.D.
Texas Center for Border and Transnational  Studies
University of Texas at Brownsville
Federal Members

Robert M. Apodaca
Assistant Chief - West
U.S. Department of Agriculture - NRCS

Yolanda Chavez
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Grant Programs
Community Planning and Development
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Edward Drusina
International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section

Greg  Eckert
Restoration Ecologist
U.S. Department of the Interior - NFS

Julia Goldberg
Acting General Manager, U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission,
  U.S. Section
Department of Health and Human Services

David Kennedy
Assistant Administrator
National Ocean Service
U.S. Department of Commerce - NOAA

Linda L. Lawson
Safety, Energy and the Environment
U.S. Department of Transportation

Teresa R. Pohlman, Ph.D.
Occupational Safety and Environmental Programs
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Rachel Poynter
U.S.-Mexico Border Coordinator
Office of Mexican Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Designated Federal Officer

Mark Joyce
Associate Director
U.S. EPA, Office of Federal Advisory
Committee Management and Outreach

Federal Agency Alternates
(non-Board members who support their agency's participation)

Melissa  Estes
Campo EPA

Stan Gimont
Office of Block Grant Assistance
Office of Community Planning and Development
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Sylvia Grijalva
U.S.-Mexico Border Planning Coordinator
Federal  Highway Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation

Alison Krepp
Estuarine Reserves Division
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2012 Members of the Good  Neighbor Environmental Board (continued)
Chris Lawrence
Electricity Industry Specialist
Permitting, Siting and Analysis Division
Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability
U.S. Department of Energy

Enrique Manzanilla
Communities and Ecosystems Division
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 9

Laurie McGilvray
Division  Chief
Estuarine Reserve Division  U.S.  National Oceanic and Atmospheric

Lorraine Navarrete
Binational Operations Coordinator, MSA, Inc. (CTR)
U.S. Section, U.S.-Mexico Border Health Commission
Office of Global Affairs
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Angela  Palazzolo
Border Affairs Officer
U.S.-Mexico Border Affairs
U.S. Department of State

Sally Spener
Foreign  Affairs  Officer
International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section
EPA Regional Office Contacts

Tomas Torres
San Diego Border Office Director
U.S. EPA, Region 9

Jose Francisco Garcia, Jr.
U.S.-Mexico Border Program Specialist
U.S. EPA, Region 9

AlhelT Banos-Keener
U.S.-Mexico Border Program Specialist
U.S. EPA, Region 9

William "Bill" Luthans
Deputy Director
Multimedia Planning and Permitting Division
U.S. EPA, Region 6

Gina Weber
International  Coordinator
U.S.-Mexico Border Program
U.S. EPA, Region 6

Carlos Rincon, Ph.D.
El Paso Border Office  Director
U.S. EPA, Region 6

Paula Flores-Gregg
TX-COAH-NL-TAMPS Coordinator
U.S. EPA, Region 6

Debra Tellez
TX-CHIH-NM Coordinator
U.S. EPA, Region 6
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region

                                                                                      Review and Recommendations
Arturo Aguilar, Interim Lead Organizer, El Paso Interreligious
Sponsoring Organization and Border Interfaith

Gilbert Anaya, Chief, Environmental Management Division, U.S.
Section, International Boundary and Water Commission

Dave Anderson, P.E., President, FORM Sustainable Planning and
Community Development

Don Barnett,  Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum

Wayne Belzer, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Section,
International Boundary and Water Commission

Perri Benemelis, Manager, Colorado River Section, Arizona Depart-
ment of Water Resources

Erskine Benjamin,  Environmental Engineer, Water  Division Tribal
Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dan Bunk, Hydrologist, Lower Colorado Regional  Office, Bureau of

Russell Callejo, Lower Colorado Regional Liaison,  Bureau of

Dan Cavanaugh, U.S. Geological Survey

Omar Chacon Betancourt, Chief, Department of Regulation and
Sanitation, Junta Municipal de Agua y Saneamiento (Municipal
Board of Water and Sanitation)

Tracy Cline, County of San Diego,  Department of Public Works,
Watershed Protection Program, Tijuana River  Recovery Team

Frank Corkhill, Chief Hydrologist, Arizona Department of Water

Susan Cox, Environmental Engineer, Water Division Border Infrastruc-
ture, U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency

David E. Cummings, Ph.D.,  Point Loma Nazarene  University

Laura  Ebbert, Manager, Tribal Program Office, U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency

Doug Eberhardt, Chief, Water Infrastructure Office, U.S. Environmen-
tal Protection Agency

Ron Ellis, Manager, Water Rights Permitting & Availability Section,
Water Availability  Division, Texas Commission on Environmental

Bryn Evans, Project  Manager, URS Corporation, Tijuana River
Recovery Team

William Finn,  Chief, Water Accounting  Division, U.S. Section,
International Boundary and Water Commission

Juan Antonio Flores, Associate Director for Public Affairs,  North
American Development Bank

Russell Frisbie, Special Assistant Washington Liaison,  U.S.  Section
International Boundary and Water Commission

Awilda Fuentes, Environmental Engineer, Office of Wastewater
Management,  U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency

Ann-Marie Gantner, Program Analyst,  Office  of Federal Advisory
Committee Management and Outreach, U.S.  Environmental Protec-
tion Agency

Jose Garcia, Program Specialist,  U.S.-Mexico  Border Program, U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency
Renata Manning-Gbogbo, Director-Project Development, Border
Environment Cooperation Commission

Maria Elena Giner, General Manager,  Border Environment Coopera-
tion Commission

Leslie Grijalva, Environmental Protection Specialist, Texas Clean
Rivers Program for the Rio Grande Basin, Quality Assurance Officer,
International Boundary and Water Commission

Randy Hill, Acting Director, Office of Wastewater Management, U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency

Alex Hinojosa, Deputy Managing Director, North American Develop-
ment Bank

Hans J.  Huth, Hydrologist, Arizona Department of Environmental
Quality,  Office of Border Environmental Protection

Deanna  Ikeya, Environmental Program Manager, Colorado River
Section, Arizona Department of Water Resources

Carly Jerla, Co-Study Manager, Colorado River Study, Bureau of

Cynthia  Jones-Jackson, Acting  Director, Office of Federal Advisory
Committee Management and Outreach, U.S.  Environmental Protec-
tion Agency

Mary Kelly,  Environmental Analysis and Advocacy, Parula, LLC

Thomas Konner, Environmental Engineer, Water Division Border
Infrastructure, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Michael  Lacey, Deputy Director, Arizona Department of Water

Douglas Liden, Environmental Engineer, U.S.-Mexico Border Office,
U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency

Jeffrey Lucero, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Ben McCue, Conservation Director, WiLDCOAST, Tijuana River
Recovery Team

John Merino, Principal Engineer, U.S.  Section, International Boundary
and Water Commission

William (Paul) Miller, Ph.D., Civil Engineer (Hydrologic),  Lower
Colorado Regional Office, Bureau of Reclamation

Dean A. Moulis, Border and WIFA Infrastructure Engineer, Arizona
Department of Environmental Quality, Office of Border  Environmen-
tal Protection

Peter Neubauer, County of San Diego, Department of Environmental
Health, Small  Drinking Water Program

Arcela Nunez-Alvarez, Ph.D.,  Director of the National Latino
Research Center, California State University San Marcos

Lauren Oertel, Policy Analyst, Texas Commission on Environmental

Carlos Pena, Principal Engineer, U.S.  Section,  International Boundary
and Water Commission

Diane Perez, Coordinator, El  Paso Water Utilities Desalination Plant

Carlos M. Ramirez, TecH2O Learning  Center

Lisa D. Quiveros, CPEA, Energy and  Environmental Program Analyst,
Occupational  Safety and Environmental Programs, Department of
Homeland Security

Acknowledgments (continued)
Jesus "Chuy" Reyes, General Manager, El Paso County Water
Improvement District #1

Aimee Roberson, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife

Jose Rodriguez, Environmental  Engineer,  Water Quality Protection
Division, U.S.-Mexico Border Infrastructure Program - U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency

Oscar Romo, Professor Urban Studies and Planning Program, Tijuana
River Recovery Team, University of California, San Diego

Noe Santos, Civil Engineer (Hydrologic) Student Trainee, Lower
Colorado Regional  Office, Bureau of Reclamation

Placido dos Santos, Coordinator, Transboundary Aquifer Assessment
Program (TAAP), Water Resources Research Center, University of

Maria A. Sisneros, E.I.T.,  Environmental Engineer, El Paso Border
Office, U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency

Sandy Sutton, Executive  Director, Water Infrastructure Finance
Authority of Arizona
Lynn Stabenfeldt, Team Leader, Sustainable Communities Branch,
Office of Wastewater Management, U.S. Environmental Protection

Keith Takata, Former Deputy Regional Administrator, Office of the
Regional Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Gilbert T. Tellez, Environmental Engineer, Environmental Protection
Agency, Water Quality Protection Division - U.S./Mexico Border
Infrastructure Program

Shana Tighi, Water Resource Specialist, Lower Colorado Regional
Office, Bureau  of Reclamation

Loretta Vanegas, Environmental Protection Specialist, Water Division
Tribal  Office, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Bryan Wuerker, Hydrologic Technician, Lower  Colorado Regional
Office, Bureau  of Reclamation

Nancy Woo, Acting  Division Director, Water Division, U.S. Environ-
mental Protection Agency
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21.  Hendricks, D.  (2012, August 14). 11 border communities to
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Endnotes  (continued)
31.  Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. (2012). Office of
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32.  State laws and regulations require that publicly owned
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38.  A definition of environmental flows: Environmental flows
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39.  Native American Environmental Protection Coalition. (2011,
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40.  U.S. Census Bureau. Available at

41.  Gulf Publishing Company. (2012, July). World oil
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43.  University of Texas at Austin,  Bureau of Economic Geology.
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44.  University of Arizona. (2012, September). Transborder climate:
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51.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  (2012). Water resources
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52.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012, August). Climate
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54.  Tucson, Arizona City Government. (2012).  Single family resi-
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55.  Tucson, Arizona City Government, Planning and Development
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56.  San Luis Rey Indian Water Authority. (2012, October 24).  San
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57.  International Boundary and Water Commission, United States
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58.  U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. (2011,
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59.  Rio Grande Regional Water Planning Group. (2010, October).
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Endnotes (continued)
61.   Texas Water Development Board. (2011, January). Region E-far
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62.   Weeden, A. and Maddock, T., III. (1999). Simulation of ground-
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63.   Plateau Water Planning  Group.  (2011, January). Plateau Region
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64.   Brisbane Declaration.  (2007, September). [Online]. Available at

65.   Jerla, C. (2012, March 22). Overview of the Colorado  River
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66.   Good  Neighbor Environmental  Board. (2005,  February). Water
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67.   U.S. Geological Survey.  (2010, August). NSIP federal needs for
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68.   Border Governors. (2012, August 3). Joint declaration  of the
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69.   Arizona Department of Water Resources. (2011, October).
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70.   Arizona Department of Water Resources. (2009, June). Arizona
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71.   The New Mexico Lower Rio  Grande Regional Waterplan (2004,
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72.   Bredehoeft, J., Ford, J., Harden, B., Mace, R. and Rumbaugh,
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73.   Milly, P. C., Betancourt, J., Falkenmark, M., Hirsch, R. M.,
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74.   Hoekstra, A. Y, Mekonnen, M.  M., Chapagain, A.  K., Mathews,
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75.   Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. (2009,  December).
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76.  Ellis, R. (2012, March). Environmental flows and the SB 3 pro-
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77.  Interview with Ron Ellis, Texas Commission on Environmental
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78.  New Mexico Department of Agriculture. (2009). New Mexico
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79.  McLemore, T. (2008). Harlingen Irrigation District Cameron
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80.  Texas Water  Development Board. (2012, July 26). Historical
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81.  Texas Water  Development Board. (201 2, January). Water for
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82.  El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board. (2012). Less is the
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83.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Biocriteria -
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84.  T. Konner, Environmental Engineer, U.S.  EPA (e-mail communi-
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85.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Biological indica-
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86.  California Department of Public Health.  (2009, January 1).
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87.  Reiff,  R, Roses, M., Venczel, L, Quick, R. and Will, V. (1996).
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88.  For example, a recent study determined that antibiotic resistant
     genes in the environment threaten to invade  bacteria that
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89.  Cummings, D. E., Archer, K. R, Arriola, D. J.,  Baker, P. A.,
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90.  City of El Paso, Texas. (2012, March). Plan El Paso Compre-
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Endnotes  (continued)
91.  World Health Organization. (2007). Combating waterborne
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92.  United States-Mexico Border Health Commission. (2010).
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93.  U.S. Department of Health and Human  Services, Centers for
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94.  Norman,  L. M., Callegary, J., van Riper, C. and Gray, R,  III.
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95.  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. (2012, October 24).
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96.  Rivera, O.C. (2012, April). Tracking pollutant releases and
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97.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (201 2). What is non-
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98.  Nunez-Alvarez, A., Marquez, A.,  Uekusa, S., Hoff, A. and
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99.  U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2005, December). Rule
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100. Craig, R.  K. (1998, June 22). Borders and discharges: Regula-
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101. Tribal Council  of the Pueblo of Isleta. (2002, March 18).
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102. TON tribal  border liaison  (personal communication,  May 11,

103. InterTribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (2012). Tribal water systems
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104. California Tribal Water Summit (2009). California  water plan
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106. New Mexico Environment Department: Community service
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107. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2011). Source water
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108. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Source water
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109. Macfas-Corral, M., Samani, Z. and Martinez, S. L. (2006). Two
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110. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2006). Targeted
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111. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2012). Wet/and Grants
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112. Hibbs, B.J.  "As the water became increasingly used and
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113. Hibbs, B. J. and Merino, M. (2006). A geologic source of salin-
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114. Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum. (2012). Colorado
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115. Hurd, B., Brown, C., Greenlee, J., Granados, A. and Hendrie,
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116. Boykin, K. G. and Propeck-Gray S. (2007). Biological data
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117. Sheng,  Z., Brown, C., Creel, B., Srinivasan, R., Michelsen, A.
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118. Border  2012 New Mexico Chihuahua Rural Task Force, Water
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Endnotes (continued)
119. International Boundary and Water Commission, U.S. Section.
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120. California Environmental Protection Agency, Regional Water
     Quality Control Board. Colorado River Basin Region Staff
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121. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Colorado
     River Basin. (January 2009). Resolution R7-2009-0014, Colorado
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     Integrated Report.

122. California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Colorado
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     Alamo River.

123. California Regional Water Quality Control Board. (June 2007).
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124. A. Roberson, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife-
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125. Tijuana River Valley Recovery Team. (2012, January). Recovery
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126. International Boundary and Water Commission, United States
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127. Record of Decision for Final Environmental Impact Statement,
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128. Tierra  Environmental Services. (2008, March). Tijuana estuary-
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129. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, SEMARNAT. (2012,
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132. U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency. (2011, September).
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133. North American Development Bank-Border Environment Infra-
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134. As of 2012, an additional source of funding available for border
    communities in New Mexico, the Colonias Infrastructure Fund,
    sets aside $13.3 million annually for these communities. The
    Colonias Infrastructure Act, which makes this fund available,
    was adopted by the New  Mexico Legislature in 2010.

135. Border Environment Cooperation Commission. (2011,  March
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136. Eaton, D. J. and Hurlbut, D. (1992). Challenges in the bina-
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137. Texas Water Commission,  Standards and Assessments Division.
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138. International  Boundary and Water Commission, United States
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139. International  Boundary and Water Commission, United States
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140. J. Bernal, IBWC Commissioner (personal communication to
    Craig Pedersem, Texas Water Development Board  Executive
    Administrator, regarding Re Nuevo Laredo International  Project,
    Project Completion and  Final Payment, MOU dated July 19,
    1990, August 27, 2000).

141. Border Environment Cooperation Commission. (2004). Improve-
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142. North American Development Bank. (2012, June 30). Summary
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143. Border Environment Cooperation Commission. (2006). Com-
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144. Gruenberg, P. and California Regional Water Quality Control
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145. State Public Services Commission of Mexicali. (1997, October).
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146. International  Boundary and Water Commission, United States
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147. Colorado River Basin Regional Water Quality Control Board.
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    program [Online]. Available at

Endnotes (continued)
148. City of Mexicali Wastewater Infrastructure Projects. (2007, June).
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149. J. A. Flores, Associate Director of Public Affairs for the North
     American Development Bank (email communication, Summary
     Status Report, February 29, 2012).

150. International Boundary and Water Commission, United States
     and Mexico. (2000, October 26). Minute No. 304: Joint grant
     contribution program for drinking water and wastewater infra-
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Endnotes for the Ambos  Nogales  Case Study

1.    Institute  Nacional de Estadfstica y Geograffa. (2011). Mexico:
     Principales resultados del Censo de Poblacion  y Vivienda 2010:
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Population for the City of Nogales,
3.    Huth  H. and Tinney C.J. (2008). Causes and consequences
     of monsoonal flooding in Nogales, Sonora. Proceedings of a
     USGS Workshop on facing tomorrow's challenges along the
     U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. Geological Survey Circular, 1322, 63.
4.    U.S. International  Boundary and Water Commission. (1998).
     Minute 276: Conveyance, Treatment and Disposal of Sewage
     from Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora Exceeding the
     Capacities Allotted to the  United States and Mexico at the
     Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant Under
     Minute 227.

5.    Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. (2011, December
     18). ADEQ Border Office Report for Week Ending December
     16, 2011.

6.    Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. (2012, January
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1.    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District. (2007,
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     Channel Damages.

8.    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District. (2009,
     March  20). Morley Avenue Branch of Nogales Wash Inspection

9.    Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. (2007, August
     27). Incident Report:  Nogales  Wash and IOI Wastewater

10.  Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. (2008, July 15).
     Incident Report: Fugitive Flows Impacting Nogales Wash.
The Environmental, Economic and Health Status of Water Resources in the U.S.-Mexico Border Region