U.S., Mexico to discuss Colorado River | VailDaily.com

U.S., Mexico to discuss Colorado River

DENVER (AP) ” The United States and Mexico have agreed to discuss a range of issues surrounding the Colorado River, a key water source for both nations, the U.S. Interior Department said Monday.

U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne released a joint U.S.-Mexico statement saying the discussions would include the effects of climate change and drought; urban, agricultural and environmental water needs in both nations; wildlife habitat in the Colorado River Delta; and such programs as sea water desalination to augment supplies.

The statement said existing treaties should be used to “expedite discussions in coming weeks.” No date for the talks has been set, Interior spokeswoman Joan Moody said.

The statement did not say what the scope of the proposed discussions on climate change and drought would be.

Moody said Kempthorne and Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, directed their technical staffs to draw up an agenda, and it would be up to those two groups to establish the outlines of the issues.

The Colorado River and its tributaries supply water to Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. A 1944 treaty guarantees Mexico 1.5 million acre-feet of water a year from the river.

The treaty is administered by the International Boundary and Water Commission, and the joint statement said the discussions about the river would be held within the framework of the commission.

Kempthorne said the joint statement was released after he met with Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan.

“The issues facing the Colorado River basin are complex, and increasing our dialogue with Mexico will make the path to resolving them much easier,” Kempthorne said in a written release.

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