Home Environment Water from the Colorado River flows along the US-Mexico border in historic...

Water from the Colorado River flows along the US-Mexico border in historic collaboration


(May 13, 2021) – On May 1, water began to flow into the arid Colorado River Delta as part of a program of scheduled deliveries to restore the area, which is required by the US and Mexicans to pursue sustainable management. was approved under a bi-national agreement between the governments. of the Colorado River. The water distribution is part of an ongoing plan of critical and historical importance implemented through the US and Mexican sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission and supported by a coalition of conservation organizations from the United States and Mexico.

“Our collaborative efforts have been a paradigm shift in the way water is managed,” said Jennifer Pitt, Colorado River Program Director, National Audubon Society. “We are showing how we can share water, conserve water and invest in new water projects and river health. It demonstrates a commitment to improving water supplies for nature and people, which is a shining example of what two nations can achieve when we work together.

The water release, designed to mimic the river’s natural spring flow, began on Saturday, May 1 and will extend through early October, giving a total of 35,000 acre-feet (43 mcm) of water downstream over a long period of time. It will be delivered to the Colorado River Delta. Managed program designed to maximize water impact. The water release is planned to reach its highest flow rate in early June and is specifically designed to enhance environmental and recreational benefits for the central delta. The water flow will continue for a total of twenty three weeks, bringing much-needed support to wildlife habitat, while also being enjoyed by local communities.

“This is an exciting time for both countries,” said Carlos de la Parra, academic in boundary studies specializing in water issues, and a member of the Minute 323 monitoring group. “By allocating resources to improve water distribution infrastructure, Mexico and the US are helping Mexicali Valley farmers increase their profits and resilience to the effects of climate change.”

A significant part of the implementation and monitoring of Minute 323 is being conducted by the members of raise the river A coalition of conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working to bring water and life back to the Colorado River Delta. Participating organizations include the National Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy, Prontura Noroste, The Radford Center, Restormos El Colorado, and the Sonoran Institute.

“We have worked hand-in-hand with our partners over the years to achieve the best possible results for Delta,” said Francisco Zamora, Director General of the Sonoran Institute Mexico. “Working together to monitor pre-water flows and determine their effects on the delta, our observations inform this current effort to encourage healthy ecosystems in the Colorado River Delta.”

Water will be delivered to the river corridor in the delta via irrigation canals in the Mexicali Valley that distribute water from the Colorado River to the farmers of Mexicali. The waters of the Colorado River are diverted into this canal system south of the United States-Mexico border. Once there, it will flow canals to specific locations where Rise the River Coalition partners have built highly successful restoration sites, and where this programmed release of water can benefit the habitats and wildlife that use them. .

“These water releases are an important part of supporting our ongoing restoration efforts,” said Gaby Koloka, Coordinator, Water and Wetlands Program, Pronatura Noroste, a Mexico-based non-profit conservation organization that manages several restoration sites. “Based on our prior work and careful monitoring of its impact, we now know that relatively small amounts of water can make a big difference in the health of the delta region.”

The release of these waters is just one component of a multifaceted policy agreement formally known as Minute 323 – a landmark bi-national agreement between the US and Mexico in September 2017 that defines how the two countries face mounting pressure. How beaches share the waters of the Colorado River through 2026. on water resources. The agreement is part of a larger Colorado River policy framework that provides a number of benefits more broadly for water users on both sides of the border, including surplus sharing over much longer periods of time, and reduced storage, in times of drought. Providing incentives to release water, and water conservation through joint investment in projects from water users in both countries.

Water flow is an important element of Minute 323, which allocates water for the restoration and conservation of riparian habitat, and which extends the International Cooperative Management Standard established by Minute 319 (effective from 2012 – 2017). These restored sites are providing proven benefits to wildlife species and communities along the Colorado River in both countries and in the Colorado River Delta region in Mexico.

This 164-day program of scheduled water releases is part of a wider commitment under Minute 323 to provide water to support major restoration sites in the river’s riparian corridor by 2026. The United States and Mexico will provide 2/3 of the total committed water (140,000 acre-feet or 173 mcm over 9 years) and 1/3 of the NGO’s Rise the River Coalition water (total 70,000 acre-feet or 86 MCM, in 9 years).

“Previous monitoring of environmental flows from minute 319 has shown us how to derive the greatest benefit from the smallest amount of water delivered to restoration sites.” Eloise Kendy, Ph.D., senior freshwater scientist, The Nature Conservancy. “It has been – and will be – very helpful for both governments to obtain information that becomes relevant to facing droughts with greater frequency not only in the Colorado River Basin but also in other watersheds.”

By raising awareness, funding and, ultimately, river water levels, the river aims to restore the original habitat that reconnects the river with the Gulf of California and to establish a framework for the water’s long-term dedication to restoration. is. of the Colorado River Delta.

“Through these cooperative efforts, we are rewriting history by increasing the resilience of the Mexicali Valley, restoring ecosystems and returning some of the river’s natural features to local communities that have been deprived of a healthy environment. ,” says Pitt. “Since the initial release of Water for the Environment in 2014, we have been demonstrating the long-term benefits of the binational collaboration, not only for the environment, but for all water users in the region. Our work in the Colorado River Delta has long-term across borders. becoming a model for water-sharing agreements.”

additional resources:

  1. Background information on raising the river, including the reported results so far from binational agreements and managed restoration projects related to the Colorado River.
  2. Official Press Bulletin from IBWC

raise the river A unique partnership of six United States and Mexico NGOs working to revitalize the Colorado River Delta through activities that support environmental restoration for the benefit of the people and the increase of wildlife in the delta. Members include: Nature Protection, National Audubon Society, Northwest Pronatura, the Radford Center, Let’s Restore El Colorado, And this Sonoran Institute. The Coalition has worked with policymakers, water agencies and government representatives in the US and Mexico since 2012 to cooperatively create historic change for the Colorado River Delta.

To learn more about Rise the River, visit www.raisetheriver.org.


Media Contact: Jason Howe; (415)595-9245, jason.howe@audubon.org

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of knews.uk and knews.uk does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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