Texas County Declares Disaster over Drought

In McAllen, Texas, Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez has declared a disaster due to an “exceptional drought” gripping the region. The lack of rainfall, compounded by insufficient water payments from Mexico, has prompted this action to address the looming threat.

The prolonged drought has put immense strain on the area, posing risks to public health, water supplies, and agriculture. Mexico’s shortfall in water payments, as mandated by a 1944 treaty, has exacerbated the situation.

Despite being in a 5-year cycle, Mexico has only paid the United States for one year’s worth of water. With the cycle set to end in October 2025, concerns loom over Mexico’s ability to fulfill its obligations.

The impact of the drought is already visible, with a sugar mill shutting down in Santa Rosa, resulting in job losses, and Mission contemplating restrictions on building permits for new developments due to water shortages.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, Hidalgo County’s declaration seeks assistance from the state to mitigate the crisis. State Representative Terry Canales has urged Governor Greg Abbott to issue a disaster declaration, amplifying efforts to address the water shortage.

Texas County Declares Disaster over Drought

Abbott has previously renewed disaster declarations for Hidalgo County, acknowledging the ongoing exceptional drought conditions. The latest declaration enables access to state funds and activates emergency management plans to prevent wildfires.

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As the declaration expires on April 16, county commissioners are poised to convene and potentially extend the order for another 30 days. This collective effort aims to confront the challenges posed by the drought and safeguard the well-being of South Texas residents.

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