Informative Webinar on Binational Collaboration
Sept. 24, 2021
On Tuesday, September 14, the WRRC hosted the webinar Binational Cooperation in the Colorado River Basin: United States and Mexico, featuring US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) Binational Program Manager Amy Witherall and Analyst Sean Schrag-Toso. The timely webinar coincided with the appointment of the new Commissioners to both the US and Mexico Sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission. US Commissioner Maria-Elena Giner attended the webinar and offered some special remarks at the start of the event. Read more about Mexico’s Commissioner, Adriana Reséndez Maldonado, below in this issue of the Weekly Wave. Following Commissioner Giner’s remarks, Witherall began the presentation with a question to the audience, “What one word do you associate with the US/Mexico relationship on the Colorado River?” Audience responses generated a word cloud with “complicated” and “uneven” emerging as the most-entered answers.
After setting the stage for the presentation, Witherall gave an overview of Reclamation’s water management in the West and put the topic of binational cooperation in a river basin in a global context. She noted that in the US, almost all of our borderlands are in a transboundary river basin.
Sean Schrag-Toso, who received his Master of Hydrology and Water Resources from the University of Arizona, then provided some historical background to the relationship between the US and Mexico on the Colorado River and described current binational agreements, including Minute 323 to the 1944 US-Mexico Water Treaty. In addition to a detailed and comprehensive overview of the implementation of Minute 323, Schrag-Toso and Witherall shared examples with many photos highlighting the ongoing efforts of the Projects, Desalination, and Environmental Work Groups. Before engaging in a robust discussion of moderated audience questions, Witherall again asked the audience to share one word they associate with the US/Mexico relationship on the Colorado River. This time, the word that emerged as the most entered was “cooperative.”
Both Witherall and Schrag-Toso entered the federal government through the Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Program. The PMF program is a two-year federal leadership development program for students who have completed an advanced degree program. The application for the PMF class of 2022 opens on September 28, 2021. More information on the program and the application process can be found here: https://www.pmf.gov/become-a-pmf/2022-application/