Conservation Matters June 2018

The Texas Land, Water and Wildlife Connection

Research article identifies transboundary hydrogeological units shared between Texas, Mexico

By Kathy Wythe

Research article identifies transboundary hydrogeological units shared between Texas, Mexico

Dr. Rosario Sanchez, a senior research scientist for the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI); Laura Rodriguez Lozada, TWRI graduate research assistant and graduate student in the Water Management and Hydrological Sciences Program at Texas A&M University; and Dr. Cecilia Tortajada, senior research fellow for the Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, Singapore, have co-authored a “first-of-its-kind” paper on transboundary aquifers, according to Sanchez.

Transboundary aquifers between Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Texas, USA: Identification and categorization,” published in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, identifies and classifies the transboundary hydrogeological units shared between Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas, Mexico, and Texas, and assesses their potential transboundary linkages.

According to the paper, the research results indicate that the transboundary hydrogeological units identified cover around 180,000 square kilometers with between 50 to 60 percent of this land area having good aquifer potential and good water quality conditions. The areas of the bolsons southeast of the Hueco-Tularosa Bolson Aquifer in northern Chihuahua and southwestern Texas, and between the Serrania del Burro and Allende-Piedras Negras Aquifers in southern Texas and northern Coahuila, appear to be the most important for transboundary aquifer potential.

Sanchez said this study is the first assessment of all the transboundary hydrogeological units in this region and will support the development of transboundary management regimes aimed at preventing the degradation of future water supplies in the borderland between Mexico and the United States.

Sanchez said CONAGUA, Mexico's national water authority, wrote an official commentary on the publication and recognized the research as a good resource for future transboundary groundwater assessments between the two countries.

“That means it has the quality to be used as an official reference for both countries,” Sanchez said.

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