Interregional Transfer of Water in Northeastern Mexico: The Dispute Over El Cuchillo Dam
Posted: 8 Dec 1999
This article focuses on the recent conflicts over the transfer of water between the northeastern states of Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. At the center of this controversy is El Cuchillo Dam. This dam, which was officially inaugurated in 1994, is located in a region of Mexico that is of strategic economic importance for the entire Rio Bravo Basin, including these two Mexican states and the southern part of Texas. One of the crucial players in this dispute is Irrigation District 026, which is located in Tamaulipas. The other key participant in this conflict is the Metropolitan Area of Monterrey, which is located in Nuevo Leon. This dispute shows the conflicting needs associated with providing enough water for both the growing urban and industrial sector in Monterrey and the rural and agricultural sector in Irrigation District 026. In order to understand this complex interstate problem better, it has to be discussed in a more comprehensive context. This article, therefore, first develops the history and context in which El Cuchillo Dam was built and discusses how the controversy developed. Then, recent solutions to the conflict are discussed along with the varied and profound policy implications that these current solutions engender. These solutions utilize many different disciplines such as economics, engineering, politics, and water law. The most crucial resource available to resolve this conflict is having a firm understanding of the history of the conflict. All resolutions and policy implications must necessarily flow from this understanding.
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