Members of Mexico’s National Farmer’s Confederation (CNC) announced last week that they are forming a “common front” against the agreement signed last month between Mexico and the United States on sharing the Colorado River’s water.
The agreement allows Mexico to store water in Lake Mead reservoir, on the US side of the border, while the United States will be able to purchase the water that is conserved through improvements to Mexico’s canals and other storage infrastructure.
In total, US states will spend approximately $10 million USD to repair Mexican infrastructure, for which they will receive 123 million cubic meters of water.
CNC municipal leader Francisco Porras Medrano called on agricultural producers in the area to unite to defend their water, saying that agreement is damaging to their interests.
He also called on the government to protect producers.
“The sale of the resource for five years will cause an impact on the economic activity of residents of the Mexicali valley, because there are farmers and communities who need it,” he said.
“Water is our only heritage, and the government is meddling with it -- we demand that they take their hands off it.”
Porras Medrano claimed the country was “acting servile” toward the Americans because of “external interests.”
His group was meeting with Alfonso Garzón, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Port Affairs of the Legislature. In addition, Federal Deputy Benjamín Castillo Valdez, who is also the state leader of the CNC, is raising the issue in the lower house of Congress, said Porras Medrano.
Residents of northern Mexico fear they will lose 350 million cubic meters of the 1.85 billion cubic meters that are delivered annually to Baja California North, La Voz de la Frontera newspaper reported.
The “Grupo Patria” organization is calling on incoming President Enrique Peña Nieto and Baja California Governor José Guadalupe Osuna Millán to initiate bilateral dialogue and find water solutions that do not harm the border area.
The CNC also called for an assessment of the aquifer in the Mexicali Valley, and in for more work, attention and money for producers in Baja California.