Drought in North America

U.S.-Mexican cooperation on water sharing works well – most of the time.

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Water Woes: U.S. and Mexico Struggle with drought
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Dating back to 1848, water sharing is one of the longest-standing areas of bilateral cooperation between Mexico and the United States. Agreements reached in 1906 and 1944 formalized water cooperation between the two countries, most importantly by regulating water flows and cross-border deliveries of the Colorado and Rio Grande rivers. While this cooperation runs smoothly most of the time, lower water volumes in border rivers, along with periods of intense drought, lead to strained relations. Most recently, disputes broke out in 2020 and 2021. The two countries will revisit the shared water rules next year.

The current droughts in North America have caused concern about economic losses and public water supplies. The U.S. drought area affects states producing wheat, corn and to a lesser extent soy. It also significantly affects cotton production and ranching activities. In Mexico, the government has declared a water emergency in all northern states. At-risk industries include irrigated agriculture, ranching, mining, tourism, bottled beverages and possibly the automobile factories.


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Geopolitical Futures (GPF) was founded in 2015 by George Friedman, international strategist and author of The Storm Before the Calm and The Next 100 Years. GPF is non-ideological, analyzes the world and forecasts the future using geopolitics: political, economic, military and geographic dimensions at the foundation of a nation.