The Center for American Progress warned that the controversial border wall with Mexico could interfere with the Colorado River in a way that impedes on important water needs.
“The management of the Colorado River is a clear and pressing issue,” CAP said. “The urgent need for greater water security in the basin should not be overlooked.”
CAP officials said the pursuit of a border wall would further complicate issues related to access to water. The US-Mexico border has communities that are in close proximity to each other, according to author of the study Ryan Richards.
“A rupture in relations between the United States and Mexico could jeopardize treaties,” he said, “put more strain on water supplies and detonate scarce conditions with a devastating impact on jobs and the economy.”
The US region that could be effected extends to nearly 500 thousand acres and 35 million people, all of whom depend on the Colorado River for drinking water.
Barack Obama’s administration announced the so-called “Minute 319” in 2012 for Mexico to maintain its part of the water supply originating in Lake Mead, and by 2014 it released in an eight-week flow that allowed water to reach the river delta for the first time in years.
Relations between the two countries are not the same as they were under Obama, and Minute 319 expires at the end of this year. Trump is reportedly under pressure to ensure that the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) continues negotiations under a bilateral treaty.