With almost 2,000 miles of shared borders between the U.S. and Mexico, a passionate group has created a virtual space for binational collaboration that prioritizes solutions, activities and resources to solve transboundary water issues.
The Permanent Forum of Binational Waters (PFBW) was established to integrate collaboration efforts across and along the border through a network of specialists, academics, citizens and scientists.
According to the forum’s website, these borderlands between the U.S and Mexico are one of the most threatened regions of the world in terms of water security. Historically, collaboration efforts over water resources tend to be regionalized with limited border-wide impacts.
The PFBW’s network is composed of over 100 members interested in the sustainability of waters traversing Mexico and the United States. According to the director, Rosario Sanchez, Ph.D., senior research scientist at Texas Water Resources Institute, the forum is a permanent virtual space of binational communication and collaboration to strengthen the impact of each individual collaboration effort into more integrative efforts with border-scale effects.
Members within the network specialize in six general fields: groundwater, surface water, institution and administrative systems, wildlife, agriculture, and social and economic systems. Within these fields, the members are further organized into 16 different specialty categories including water quality, managed aquifer recharge, transboundary issues, urban development, water conservation, equity and others.
Sanchez said the slogan of PFBW is “water unites us.”
“The slogan is true; water really unites us,” she said. “It’s not just a slogan. It’s natural because this is what we do and we all share the same passion, so we’d better do it together.”
She said there is much more to come.
“We’re going to keep moving towards a better way to cooperate across and along the border,” she said. “It’s not just Mexico and the U.S., it’s Arizona, it’s Texas, it’s California, it’s Chihuahua, it’s all of us together making a difference.”
Register for the PFBW’s free upcoming event — U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Groundwater Conference: Where we are and the way forward — scheduled for October 14-15, 2020. This in-person conference, located in McAllen, Texas, may be moved to an online format contingent upon COVID-19 conditions. A decision will be made by June 30, 2020.