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This article reviews recent efforts by federal, state, and international organizations to address the impact of the unprecedented growth in population and industry along the border between Texas and Mexico on the water resources and water quality of the region. The border region depends heavily on the Rio Grande River both for water for sustenance and industrial use, as well as for wastewater disposal. The Texas Water Development Board, acting under the Texas Legislature, directed the development of regional water plans that were published early in 2001. Three regions were identified in the plans to include the Texas–Mexico border, namely, the Far West region, the Plateau region, and the Rio Grande region. Although these plans provide the basis for further work on managing water resources in the region, they do not address the adequacy of water quality and quality assurance in the region. Because water from the Rio Grande is being reused at numerous locations along the border, water-quality investigations must be given a high priority now.
Louis R. Manz is a graduate of civil engineering and a Ph.D. candidate in the environmental science and engineering program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His primary area of research is in water resources and water quality in rural developing areas of the world, with an emphasis on the Texas and Mexico border and Central America.Dibyendu Sarkar is an associate professor of earth and environmental science and the director of the Environmental Geochemistry Laboratory at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Sarkar received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and did his postdoctoral training at the University of Florida. His areas of expertise include soil chemistry, environmental quality and remediation, and risk assessment.
Weldon W. Hammond Jr., is the director of the Institute for Research in Water and Environmental Resources at the University of Texas at San Antonio. His research and teaching interests are in hydrogeology and engineering geology. Hammond has worked in the United States, Mexico, and Central America. Hammond is the inaugural recipient of the McNutt Distinguished Professorship in Geology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.