Leading lawmaker says Mexico has no water to give to the U.S.

May 18, 2002


A leading lawmaker from President Vicente Fox's party told U.S. legislators
on Friday that Mexico has no water to give its northern neighbor, Reforma
daily reported.

Mexican and U.S. lawmakers are meeting in the central state of Guanajuato to
talk about bilateral issues. One of the most sensitive topics is the demand
of the U.S. government that Mexico live up to the terms of a 1944 water
treaty, according to which Mexico supplies the U.S. with 500,000 cubic meters
of water annually from the delta of the Rio Grande River - known as the Rio
Bravo in Mexico.

"Mexico is aware of its responsibilities but no one is obligated to do the
impossible," said Felipe Calderon, the coordinator of the National Action
Party in the Chamber of Deputies.

Calderon said Mexico, which has several regions experiencing a severe
drought, cannot afford to give the U.S. water it does not even have for its
own citizens. Northern border towns are in a state of alert due to the

Calderon's statement seemed to undercut President Fox's promise on Wednesday,
in which he said he would come up with a plan within 15 days to pay off
Mexico's water debts to the U.S.

The U.S. has been applying political pressure on the Mexican government to
resolve the problem, which, it says, has caused heavy economic losses.

"The Texas governor says his state is losing more than one billion dollars
and has lost more than 45,000 jobs," U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jeffrey
Davidow told Reforma.

But Calderon said instead of blaming the other country, it would be more
constructive to find a mutually beneficial solution.

"Let's work together to find a way to better preserve our natural resources
before starting to fight over water that doesn't exist," he said.

Copyright 2002 TheNewsMexico.com



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