LINK TO LIVE ARTICLE: https://qz.com/se/shallow-waters/
In a warming world, the fight for water can push nations apart—or bring them together
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The US-Mexico border wall’s dangerous, costly side-effect: enormous floods
How Anglo farmers brought an end to Latino ranching in the Rio Grande Valley
There’s a time bomb for US-Mexico relations ticking underground
North America hasn’t had a megadrought in recorded history. It could be overdue
Dams and reservoirs can’t save us. This is the new future of water infrastructure.
A major US city will start drinking its own sewage. Others need to follow.
One of the fastest-growing regions of the US could run out of water
In November 2016, an unusual series of meetings took place on the banks of the Dead Sea, an ancient salt lake fed by the Jordan River.First, three men from three sovereign states convened: one from Texas, in the US, one from Mexico, and one from Jordan.
The next day, the two representatives from North America talked to a water manager from Israel.
And on the following day, the Texan and the Mexican met with the director of the Palestinian water authority.
The friendly meetings required three days, and three separate meetings, because Israel, Palestine, and Jordan have been fighting over water—and land—for decades.
Texas and Mexico made for good mentors, since they have had to overcome geopolitical antagonism of their own to make sure the water kept flowing in the homes, businesses, and farms of their people.
More precisely, Ed Drusina, a Texan and the head of the US International Boundary and Water Commission at the time, had found a way to work closely with Roberto Salmón, the IBWC’s Mexico commissioner. They were both charged with negotiating the use of Rio Grande water, which is rapidly succumbing to the effects of climate change, to benefit their respective countries. They drank whiskey together, shared plates of mole at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City, Utah, and sometimes even traveled together to meetings in the Middle East. Their spouses were friends.
The water level in the Dead Sea is sinking perilously low as all three states pull water out of the Jordan River.
Their countries, however, were mostly not. The same month the men met on the banks of the Dead Sea, the US elected a president who planned to build a wall along the Rio Grande and had falsely insinuated that those crossing into the US from Mexico are primarily drug dealers, criminals, and rapists.
In 2013, Israel agreed to pipe between 8 billion and 13 billion gallons of water from its Sea of Galilee to Amman, the parched capital of Jordan, and to sell about 8 billion gallons of freshwater to Palestine at preferential prices.
The Rio Grande
begins in the Rocky
and New Mexico
until it hits Texas.
Climate change is already driving water scarcity, a global problem that transcends politics, nationality, borders—and demands a solution that does the same. Shallow Waters investigates the Texas-Mexico border, one of the fastest-growing regions in North America, and a microcosm of a larger story of climate-change conflict, where our survival depends on cross-border cooperation.