Travelers headed south of Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico might have noticed a full, flowing Rio Grande in recent days. The coveted water was on its way to Mexico where, under a binational 1906 treaty, the U.S. is annually obligated to deliver 74 million cubic meters of the liquid. Once past the border, the water is used for irrigating farmland in the Juarez Valley of Chihuahua state, which encompasses the municipalities of Praxedis C. Guerrero, Guadalupe, Distrito Bravos and Juárez.
The Rio Grande, or Rio Bravo, as it’s known in Mexico, flows along the border, carrying water to farmers in the Juárez Valley.
Long known for its fertile farmland as well as contraband corridors, the Juarez Valley was one of the hardest hit areas in the so-called narco war, especially between 2008 and 2010 when thousands of residents fled their homes and abandoned farm land. Many sought refuge in Hudspeth County, Texas, just across the Rio Grande.