Water War At Mexico-US Border

Water War At Mexico-US Border

Several thinkers have claimed that the next big war would occur over water. A demo was presented recently on the Mexico-US border, as several farmers have taken over the dam which would have transferred water from the drought struck area to the US as part of an agreement.

Crux of the Matter

Dam Protests
In September 2020, more than 1000 farmers went to the ‘La Boquilla dam’, situated in Chihuahua state (northern Mexico). Equipped with sticks and stones, the farmers went to protest against the imminent transfer of water to the US.

National Guard troops abandoned their posts though 1 protester was killed. Farmers have turned off the water valves and have been present at the dam since. They have put a demand to wait for rains or transfer water from other regions to the US instead of burning the drought struck Chihuahua.

Why Is The Water Transferred?

  • 1944: Mexico and the US signed a ‘Water Treaty’ to regulate the use of water in regions at the border of the 2 nations.
  • Mexico receives 4 times the amount of water it transfers to the US.
  • Mexico currently owes between 319 and 426 MCM water to the US – to be transferred before 24 October.

Politics Home And Abroad

  • Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral has claimed that the protesters did not attack first. Corral belongs to the conservative National Action Party (NAP).
  • NAP has joined the protesters against left-wing President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
  • Obrador has been reportedly pushing for compliance to avoid being targeted by Trump ahead of November 2020 US elections.

Socio-Political Turbulence In Mexico
Extreme wealth inequality and drug cartels have been cited as major problems in Mexico.

  • 2006: New police force was created for the ‘war on drugs’ under President Felipe Calderón. 200,000 “drug-related killings” have been reported since then (as of 2018).
  • Civilian and political casualties occur regularly due to fights between drug cartels.
  • Annual revenue of Mexican drug cartels from sales in the US has been estimated at $20-30 billion.
  • On the other hand, ~42% of Mexicans live in poverty (as of 2018).

Relations With US

  • 90% of ‘heroin’ consumed in the US enters the country from Mexico.
  • 1992: Mexico, Canada, and the US signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which removed tariffs from most products moving between the 3 nations.
  • Tensions between Mexico and the US have increased since Donald Trump became the latter’s President in 2016. He promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the entire 2,000 km long Mexico-US border in the 2016 campaign. He stated that the aim of constructing a wall is to stop illegal Mexican migrants from entering the US.
  • A barrier of length 654 miles existed before Trump’s election. Trump Government has completed 307 miles of the border wall. However, only 5 miles of it is new, with the rest either being “replacement walls or secondary to existing walls”.
  • Trump has also threatened Mexico with tariffs though recently the NAFTA was replaced with an enhanced United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
  • Indus Water treaty is a water sharing treaty between India and Pakistan regarding the sharing of water of the Indus River and its tributaries. This treaty is considered to be one of the most successful water sharing agreements. 
  • Chihuahua dogs, one of the smallest canine breeds, originated from the state of Chihuahua. 
  • Grand Canyon is a canyon formed on the river colorado. Also, one of the most famous dams of the world, the Hoover Dam is also located in the Colorado Basin. 
  • Until 1836, Texas was a part of Mexico; after that Texas became independent and established itself as the Republic of Texas, an independent state. Following the war between the USA and Mexico in 1846, Texas became a part of the Union, and Mexico had to give 130,104 km2 of its area to the USA