IBWC Binational Core Group First Public Meeting

On January 28, The International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) convened the first public meeting of the Binational Core Group (BCG) at Tijuana’s City Hall. The BCG is comprised of representatives from federal, state, and local government, nongovernmental organizations, and binational private sector stakeholders. In accordance with Minute 320, the group’s purpose is to identify binational cooperation opportunities to address transboundary issues in the Tijuana River Basin.

At the meeting, members of the public gave their input on the current levels of environmental degradation and their impacts on quality of life. Community members discussed concerns about marine pollution levels, the influence of coastal currents on both sides of the border, wastewater treatment, the pollution impact on the Tijuana River Estuary and the resulting beach closures. Members of the public also urged the BCG to engage local stakeholder groups in further discussions.

The IBWC’s technical work groups on Water Quality, Solid Waste, and Sediment each presented a report which mentioned the Tijuana River Diversion Study prepared by the North American Development Bank. It also included preliminary results from a binational water quality study of canyon sites and the Tijuana River—the final report of which will be available this March. This was followed by an update of the sediment basins’ feasibility study which is slated to be completed in June. The BCG plans to reconvene the three technical work groups along with binational stakeholders to provide technical assistance.

IBWC Commissioners also announced the creation of a rapid response team to take immediate action on sanitation emergencies and conduct a risk analysis of existing infrastructure.