Klepsudra: How the Rio Grande Treaty Increased Instability in Mexico   [open pdf - 700KB]

"In the late 19th century, the United States Congress recognized that water was the essential element for bringing the 'arid west' into productive use and building the nation's power. For the last 100-years the United States has successfully maintained a massive water management and reclamation scheme in the western states. Central to this is a 1944 treaty with Mexico which stipulates water allocations and rights between the two countries. The treaty produced an enduring American advantage in terms of maintaining a water status quo with Mexico. Despite paying large dividends for American interests, the treaty now produces considerable tensions between the two countries and contributes towards increased instability in Mexico. This paper shows how the United States used the treaty to protect domestic interests while hindering sustainable development on the Mexican side of the border. In today's environment this situation is counter-productive for regional security. This paper addresses the consequences of our adherence to the treaty, potential impacts from climate change, poor infrastructure investments in Mexico, population growth, the North American Free Trade Agreement and implications for future policy considerations related to Mexico and its internal stability."

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