Texas Border Affairs
The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico (USIBWC) hosted a meeting in Weslaco, Texas on July 27, 2022, to convene federal and state agencies that can provide support farmers, herders and affected rural communities. by the Rio Grande drought and other water challenges. USIBWC Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner was joined by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Rural Development Xochitl Torres Small, Commissioner Bobby Janecka of the Texas Commission on Quality of the Environment, and representatives from the USDA Agricultural Production and Conservation Mission Area and the US Department of the Interior Claims Office.
Guests representing agriculture and municipal water interests attended the meeting at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center Auditorium in Weslaco where they learned about a variety of funding opportunities and programs.
“Irrigation districts in the valley have shared with me projects they would like to implement to become more resilient to water supply challenges. I wanted to bring the other federal agencies to the valley to see how they could help with some of these projects,” Commissioner Giner said.
The USDA currently offers a series of programs to help agricultural producers recover from drought-related losses and build resilience to future climate challenges. This includes disaster relief, loans, risk management and conservation programs. Going forward, the USDA will continue to lead in using the best science, research, and conservation tools to help growers build the resilience of their operations and mitigate the impacts of drought, floods, wildfires and other climate-related disasters while ensuring the Department is doing its part to support air, water and community quality. The USDA’s farmers.gov website offers important disaster protection and recovery resources, including the Disaster Discovery Tool and a drought-specific webpage.
“When you live in the West, you know the importance of water,” said USDA Undersecretary Torres Small. “Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris and Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack, Rural Development is committed to safe and clean water and waterways as a human right and an economic driver. . In record drought conditions, federal and local partners will need to work together to provide this essential resource to farmers and ranchers, rural communities and families living in rural towns. Rural Development is proud to partner with people here on the ground to modernize rural infrastructure so that rural people can continue to access the water they need, whatever the weather.
The Bureau of Reclamation works cooperatively with states, tribes, and local entities to plan and implement actions to increase water supply through investments to upgrade existing infrastructure and avoid potential conflicts related at the water. Through WaterSMART, Reclamation offers programs to help irrigation and water districts, tribes, states and other entities with projects that build long-term drought resilience and conserve and use water. more efficiently. WaterSMART supports Home Office priorities, including investing in infrastructure and proactively addressing community water storage, recycling and supply. Since 2010, Reclamation’s WaterSMART program has mobilized more than $940 million in federal funds with more than $3 billion in non-federal cost sharing for 887 water resources planning and on-the-ground improvement projects in the western United States. For more information, please visit the WaterSMART website at www.usbr.gov/watersmart.
The International Boundary and Water Commission is responsible for enforcing the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico and for resolving disputes that may arise in the application of the treaties. Along the Rio Grande, the Commission operates the Amistad and Falcon Dams, which store water for both countries, as well as the Lower Rio Grande Flood Control Project.