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WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE RELATED WATER CONSTRAINTS IMPLICATIONS ACROSS NORTH AMERICAN BOUNDARIES Mexico City, D.F. March 6, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE RELATED WATER CONSTRAINTS IMPLICATIONS ACROSS NORTH AMERICAN BOUNDARIES Mexico City, D.F. March 6, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 WORKSHOP ON CLIMATE RELATED WATER CONSTRAINTS IMPLICATIONS ACROSS NORTH AMERICAN BOUNDARIES Mexico City, D.F. March 6, 2009

2 Water Management During Climate Change David J. Eaton, Ph.D. Bess Harris Jones Centennial Professor of Natural Resource Policy Studies Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX

3 Overview Climate change and water availability Generic options for management changes with respect to climate change Trans-boundary water management in North America – existing rules Implications of climate change for water management across North American boundaries Water management across political boundaries, as if science and people mattered

4 Climate Change and Water Climate change could lead to More water Less water No change in amount of water Shift in timing of water Increased variablity of water Problem: less certainty of water availability

5 Responses to Water Uncertainty Create and share new water Share less water Change the rules?

6 Create new water Reservoirs: Amistad and Falcon Conservation and reuse: Rio Grande, El Paso Desalination: El Paso

7 Share Less Water War, peace, negotiation will not resolve water instability Prevent disputes by sharing uncertainly

8 Climate Change Management Options New operating rules for reservoir storage (position analysis) New operating rules for droughts (position analysis) Voluntary sharing of reduced withdrawals Inter-basin water transfers (rights; water loans) Intra-basin water transfers (rights; water loans)

9 Trans-boundary Water Management in North America EXISTING RULES: Mexico-US Canada-US

10 Treaties for Water Management Trans-boundary water management in North America is empowered and limited by treaties Treaties govern water allocation and water quality for surface and ground waters between sovereign states States, provinces, regional institutions and local government have limited roles Treaties are not likely to be modified

11 Mexico-US Water Treaties 1906 Rio Grande/Rio Bravo – Water allocation at El Paso/Jarez 1944 Mexico-US border rivers – Water allocation in the Colorado river basin – Water allocation in the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo basin – Water quality in border rivers – Silence on groundwater allocation and quality

12 Canada-US Water Treaty 1909 Treaty Open as to content Management by basin

13 Water Management Practice: Mexico-US Surface water allocation Surface water quality Groundwater allocation and quality Water infrastructure investment

14 Mexico-US Surface Water Allocation Each party insists on its water allocation under the treaty There is insufficient water in the basins to meet the water allocations, let alone the water needs of the people Each side declares unusual drought on a regular basis to avoid releases under droughts Regular circumstance of insufficient water Water conflicts resolved by rain, not institutions Each side cooperating in new water investment Example: new water supply investment improving water availability to poor along Mexico-Texas Border ($1.5 billion since 1994)

15 Mexico-US Surface Water Quality Management IBWC/CILA responsible for water quality along the border No joint standards; coordinated unilateral action Each Mexico-US sewerage or wastewater treatment project has its own standard Mexico/US agreed to invest jointly in border water quality under NAFTA $1.5 billion in water supply, water quality, water conservation along Mexico-Texas border Improvements in water quality where investment is made

16 Mexico-US Groundwater Management Treaties are silent as to groundwater Two sides have not sought to establish rules for groundwater allocation or quality management Two sides give no indication of interest in establishing rules US groundwater rules differ by state Result: unilateral action Result: groundwater mining and degradation of groundwater quality

17 Implications of Climate Change for Water Management in North America (1) It is unlikely that there could be a change in treaty agreements Two sides can and will cooperate to improve conditions for surface water supply and surface water quality (e.g. IBWC/CILA Minutes) Cooperation takes the form of investment which can and does deliver results Groundwater not likely to be addressed unless local communities or states bring parties along

18 Examples of Mexico-US Local or State Involvement in Bi-national Water Issues Informal water group in Juarez-El Paso Laredo-Nuevo Laredo treatment plant Border 2012 efforts BECC/NAD Bank investments Ten state effort

19 Implications of Climate Change for Water Management in North America (2) Water management under climate change will be the same as water management Likely option: coordinated unilateral action and coordinated investment Possible option: unilateral action without insight into unintended consequences Possible option: local or regional efforts to manage own water resources by co-opting national governments

20 Process of Water Dispute Prevention Transparent and accessible water data and models Training in water management models Narrative elicitation to develop goals and measures Multi-party drought management simulations Voluntary pre-emptive solutions Exhaustive, responsive, verbatim, public participation

21 Narrative :The Idea Telling a story is an efficient, effective, equitable and rapid way to identify problems and solutions in a river basin

22 Narrative as Language Every human society tells stories The structure of narrative is common among people Stories of different people often have much in common

23 A Future Water Hypothesis People from different places with different lives, distinct priorities and strong preferences tell stories that have much in common

24 Narrative and Dispute Research A narrative approach can identify appropriate, consensus, and smart management steps for river basin management People may disagree on who is at fault or what goals exist, but can agree on some actions to take

25 Water Narrative Elements -1 What are the water problems in the Basin? What are the causes of these problems? What could be consequences of failure to address these problems? What actions could help prevent or reduce the harm from problems?

26 Water Narrative Elements - 2 What barriers to actions exist that need to be overcome? What aids to action exist that can help? What are the metrics to measure success or failure after action? What is the ideal future after actions are implemented?

27 Examples of Dispute Prevention GMA-9 groundwater in Texas: desired future conditions over 50 years Inter-basin water transfer from Colorado River basin to Brazos River basin - with exporting basin gaining water and income Water management in the South Saskatchewan basin in Alberta Mexico-US experience Palestinian-Israeli joint narrative

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30 Groundwater Flow in Model Cell

31 Summary of GMA 9 Stakeholder Narratives

32 Current Problems Some dry wells Some dry springs Some contaminated water supplies Urban encroachment

33 Causes of Water Problems Population growth Limited water resources Drought Legal interpretations on use of groundwater Limited authority of district

34 Consequences if No Action More dry wells More dry springs More water contamination Litigation

35 Possible Actions Cooperation Responsible development Market incentives Public education Alternative sources and conservation Infrastructure investment

36 Barriers to Action Limited resources: money, data, staff, education Mistrust Costly alternatives Resistance to change Resistance to regulation

37 Ideal Outcomes Assured water availability for domestic use Spring flows Maintenance of groundwater levels

38 Groundwater Management Area 9-Major Aquifers


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