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Water From Mexico To Fill Lake Mead

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A board meeting of the Southern Nevada Water Authority ends in Las Vegas on Nov. 15, 2012.

— The Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Colorado River Commission of Nevada passed a landmark pact Thursday. Among its provisions, Mexico will store water in drought-plagued Lake Mead.

Arizona, California and Nevada will fund water efficiency projects in Mexico. These states will get a one-time allocation of water generated from Mexico’s conservation efforts in return for their financial boost.

Under the five-year pact, which will last through Dec. 31, 2017, the Southern Nevada Water Authority will give Mexico $2.5 million for these projects, and Nevada will get 23,750 acre-feet of water to be used by 2036. An acre-foot of water is enough to serve two Las Vegas households for a year.

By the end of 2012, Mexico will have about 150,000 acre feet stored in Lake Mead. This is so-called “earthquake water” that didn't get used by Mexico because of the damage to its infrastructure after the April 2010 earthquake.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority's general manager, Pat Mulroy, said the biggest gain is that all parties who use water from the Colorado River are part of this agreement.

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Read more about the landmark water pact between the U.S. and Mexico.

"When there are surpluses in the river, which we all hope will come back some day, Mexico will be afforded an opportunity to share in those," Mulroy said. "So a lot of things that Mexico’s been complaining about, Mexico will be afforded an opportunity to share in those. So a lot of things that Mexico’s been complaining about that they haven’t been able to participate in, they now are a full partner."

Municipal water entities in Arizona and California already gave their approval, so the U.S. and Mexico will sign the pact next week. The exact location and time has yet to be determined. During the board members' meeting, Mulroy said countries in Asia as well as Australia have expressed interest in receiving the agreement, in an effort to study how one country (the U.S.) agreed to store water of another (Mexico).

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