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      Water nowhere in sight

      General Manager Sonia Lambert

      The Rio Grande Valley is in desperate need for water.

      Barry Goldsmith of the National Weather Service in Brownsville said the last time we saw this type of drought was from 1988 to 1990.

      "We've had record-low rainfall for the past 24 months - not only record, but six inches below the previous record," Goldsmith said. This is why if people are looking outside and they're seeing dust and dirt and almost no grass growing and think they've never seen that before, it's because they never have."

      This endless drought is having devastating effects on farmers.

      Cameron County Irrigation District 2 has already stopped taking irrigation orders from farmers because they said there is no more water for them to disburse.

      General Manager Sonia Lambert said they will fulfill orders filed by April 12, but any new orders for irrigation of crops will be put on a waiting list.

      "We have approximately 18,000 acres that are being serviced right now or (will have water) delivered, Lambert said. We estimate that will take us about three weeks to deliver that water."

      Lambert added that the municipalities which use their system to distribute water to their residents - Rio Hondo, East Rio Hondo and San Benito - have had to purchase water to help fill-up the system and have enough water to push to people's homes.

      She said the outlook for farmers, ranchers and residents in the Valley is not good, and currently there are few options to address the problem.

      "(One option for relief) is for Mexico to release the water that is under the 1944 treaty that there's a deficit of, and that would bring a relief, Lambert said. What would solve the problem, is major rain to fill-up both Amistad Reservoir and Falcon Dam Reservoir."

      However, Goldsmith said the weather patterns show little promise of rain to come to the Valley.

      "It's looking to be dry for at least April, May probably into June, Goldsmith said. We'll get some rain, it won't be totally dry every single day, but not the kind of rain we need to replenish the reservoirs. Things that are going to bring that back are a tropical storm, cyclone or hurricane."

      Lambert added there TMs been growing frustration from farmers with the International Boundary Water Commission TMs inability to reach an agreement with Mexico on the water owed to the U.S.