Water industry experts and researchers gathered Thursday and Friday in the Sun City to explore water strategies for the border’s future at the Two Nations One Water: U.S.-Mexico Border Water Summit.
Lead organizer Ed Archuleta, Director of Water Initiatives for the University of Texas at El Paso, welcomed the diverse audience to the “Olympics of Water on the Border” at the TecH2O Learning Center located at 10751 Montana Avenue.
“Despite all the rhetoric in the news about building border walls and immigration issues, those of you in the water industry know that water is the most important issue on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said Archuleta. He invited participants “to share ideas so we can continue to have a robust and economically viable border region.”
“Establishing partnerships is vital to navigating water issues on the border,” said El Paso Water President and CEO John Balliew. “It’s very important to have cooperation when dealing with this key resource. Our triangle of relationships between EPWater, the region’s universities and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is key to solving many of these issues.”
Speakers and participants engaged on topics such as drought, the Colorado River Agreement – Minute 323 and research on innovative technologies including water reuse and desalination.
A number of ideas were advanced throughout the two days to further cross-border cooperation and advance innovations that support the vitality of the border region. Among the ideas that generated the most discussion were:
- Begin to work on a cooperative binational framework focused on aquifers that cross state and national borders; and
- Examine new economic models that value water and water infrastructure appropriately for long term sustainability.
Commissioner Roberto Fernando Salmón Castelo, of Mexico’s International Boundary and Water Commission (CILA), said the international conference and ongoing dialogue will help strengthen U.S.-Mexico bonds.
“We want water to be a theme that unites us, not divides us,” Salmón said.
Photo gallery courtesy EP Water