Researcher Elia Tapia takes a sample of water from the Mexican portion of the transboundary Santa Cruz Aquifer as part of a binational groundwater assessment program.
In the cross-border sister cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, debate over immigration, drugs and U.S. border-wall expansion have grabbed ever-larger headlines of late. Yet amid the commotion, a striking exercise in binational cooperation played out quietly over two days this month, in a water-utility conference hall on El Paso’s eastern outskirts. On April 10th and 11th, Mexican and U.S. government officials, geologists, geographers and water professionals held the Binational Groundwater Summit to discuss a potentially pivotal challenge for both countries’ fast-growing border regions: the health and management of transboundary aquifers. The summit was convened by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), the 130-year-old binational body that oversees treaty-related boundary-demarcation and water-policy questions arising on the border. Though many attendees said they hope such meetings will lead to U.S-Mexican co-management of transboundary aquifers, they acknowledged... [Log in to read more]