Water Quantity and Quality Issues in El Paso Del Norte Region
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The El Paso del Norte Region faces challenges in the administration of its water resources in the way water is managed due to conflicts with different political jurisdictions and existing laws governing water management in Mexico and the U.S.(including the States of Texas and New Mexico). The region is in great need of legislation with regard to water allocation and quality rights, urged by the scarcity of fresh water, high salinity, and increased population demands. The El Paso del Norte Region is located on the U.S./Mexico border, where the states of Texas and New Mexico meet the Mexican State of Chihuahua. Within this area, the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo and Hueco-Mesilla Bolsons (main aquifers), serve as surface and groundwater sources for municipal and agricultural use. Consequently these water sources are shared by two countries and three states, where numerous entities are involved in regional water management. Thus each community and entity works independently of one another, and true regional planning does not occur. The management of groundwater as a source of water supply is a controversial issue. This is due to the fact that its characterization and surface water management is concentrated on water quantity and not on quality issues, thus affecting U.S. and Mexican water users. This paper analyzes the different entities involved, political jurisdictions, water regulations and their implications on regional water management.