Friday August 26, 2022

Voice of San Diego

Tijuana is paying California for more water than it has in recent years as the city faces a growing population coupled with blistering drought that’s gripping the entire West.

Northern Baja is entitled by treaty to 1.5-million-acre feet of Colorado River water per year, which is Tijuana’s primary water source. But for years the amount that goes to Tijuana hasn’t been enough to quench demand.

That’s been the case since at least 1972 when the U.S. and Mexico first let Tijuana pay for water from California during a serious drought, before it had an aqueduct to carry river water through the Mexicali Valley. The population in Tijuana then was 400,000. By 2008, including neighboring Rosarito, it was well over 1.3 million, according to international agreements that created an emergency water purchase program allowing Tijuana to pay for water in times of crisis.

The agreements, passed in 1972 and again in 2008, both said that drought conditions over the Tijuana River watershed and continued growth in northern Baja had caused the region’s demand to exceed what it gets from the Colorado River.  “Unless these emergency water deliveries are made the municipalities of Tijuana … will suffer serious shortages of water,” the agreements say.

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