Water Security through Transboundary Cooperation: Examples from the United States, Canada, and Mexico

When: Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 at 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM EDT

Watch Online: Live Event Watch Page


The Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) and the Office of Global Public Affairs (GPA) are co-hosting an interactive webinar to showcase how the United States approaches transboundary water management and promotes water security in North America. U.S. experts engage with Mexican and Canadian counterparts to identify strategies and methods to foster longer-term information sharing, collaboration, and expert consultation. The United States and Canada share over 150 transboundary rivers and lakes. Since 1909, the United States and Canada’s shared waters management has been negotiated and managed through the International Joint Commission (IJC). The IJC manages a wide range of transboundary issues including water levels and flows, water and air quality, and stakeholder engagement. To the south, the United States and Mexico share fewer, but no less important, rivers. Governed by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) since 1889, the United States and Mexico collaboratively navigate national ownership of waters, sanitation, water quality, and flood control in the border region. The first half of the program will highlight and compare approaches for transboundary water cooperation with Canada and Mexico, focusing on the roles of the International Joint Commission (IJC) and the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) as well as the many U.S. government interagency roles and the participation of stakeholders including local communities, states and territories, tribal nations, the private sector, and civil society. The second portion of the program will examine the role of national and sub-national water management practices, such as water reuse and water-savings programs, and their influence on regional water security and shared waters management. The U.S. government is committed to providing a platform that encourages information sharing, dialogue, collaboration, and stakeholder engagement for cooperative, responsible management of shared water resources in North America. U.S. engagement with the region has long emphasized cooperation on environmental management, including water management.  This engagement builds trust among partners and stakeholders and strengthens cooperation not only on water issues but for natural resources management more broadly.


Melissa Meeker
CEO, The Water Tower (Moderator)

Melissa has over 25 years of experience in water resources management, with an emphasis on alternative water supply development and research, workforce development and public engagement. Melissa previously served as the CEO of The Water Environment and Reuse Foundation and was instrumental in the merger of three critical water-related research foundations. She also served as Executive Director of the South Florida Water Management District and Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

Merrell-Ann Phare
Canadian Commissioner, International Joint Commission

Ms. Phare is a lawyer, writer, strategist, negotiator and relationship-builder who worked extensively in and with indigenous organizations on environmental, land, water, rights and governance issues. She, along with 10 First Nation Chiefs, was the founding Executive Director of the Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources (CIER), a national First Nation charitable environmental organisation. As Chief Negotiator for the Government of the Northwest Territories, Ms. Phare leads the negotiation of transboundary water agreements in the Mackenzie River Basin and the creation of Thaidene Nene, a national and territorial park in the east arm of Great Slave Lake.

Gilbert Trejo
Chief Technical Officer, El Paso Water

Mr. Trejo oversees the technical services portfolio for the utility, which includes engineering, planning and development, and project and construction management. Before coming to El Paso Water in 2014, he was the Principal in charge of Arcadis’ Water Division in the El Paso, TX region. In that role, he led business development, designed and managed projects, and ensured financial performance. Trejo is a Board Member for the WateReuse Association and Water Environment and Reuse Research Foundation. He is a published author on water reuse and water infrastructure topics.

Anne Castle
Senior Fellow, Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment, University of Colorado Law School

Anne Castle is a senior fellow at the Getches-Wilkinson Center for Natural Resources, Energy, and the Environment at the University of Colorado Law School, focusing on western water issues including Colorado River operational policy and the integration of water and land use planning. She is a founding member of the Water Policy Group, comprised of select water sector experts who have been decision makers and trusted advisers within governments and international bodies handling complex water policy and strategy.

Promotional Materials:

100820 wha water security 1 (png)

US Canada Mexico Social Media Toolkit (docx)

Questions about this event? Reach out to Loren Hurst at [email protected]