International Projects

Universities Partnership for Transboundary Waters

Universities Partnership is an international consortium of universities that trains stakeholders regarding transboundary management issues. The Utton Center participates in this Partnership. For more information on Universities Partnership, visit their site at

Border Governors Water Work Table

The Utton Center represented New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as part of a ten state work table of the Border Governors Conference. The Water Table members prepared papers outlining each State's system of water administration and border water issues. See New Mexico's paper in English and Spanish. This was prepared by the Utton Center with the research assistance of Geoff Klise, a recent University of New Mexico Water Resources Program graduate. Each state prepared a PowerPoint outlining its border issues. Marilyn O'Leary was the first co-chair of the Water Table. For more information on the Border Governors Conference visit the web site at:

For information on the work of the Water Table go to:

New Mexico/Chihuahua Commission

The Utton Center represented New Mexico on the Water Table of the New Mexico-Chihuahua Commission. The Water Table is developing a continuing dialogue with our neighboring Mexican state on water issues.

New Mexico Tour: As part of the commitment to information exchange between New Mexico and Chihuahua, the Utton Center organized a tour in October 2007 for a group of farmers and irrigators from Delicias, Chihuahua to visit farms and water projects along the Rio Grande. This was a return invitation for the exceptional tour provided to New Mexican farmers by Delicias in 2006 (see below).

Middle Rio Grande Valley: The first day of the New Mexico tour centered on activities in the Middle Rio Grande Valley. At the offices of the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District the visitors saw a presentation by David Gensler on how the MRGCD manages water, then they visited two different farms, having a chance to ask questions of the farmers. The group stopped at the Peralta Main Canal, the Isleta Pueblo Dam, and Isleta Pueblo. The group then was given a tour of the diversion dam on the Rio Grande which is part of the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project, by Joe Chwirka, Chief Engineer of Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. The first day ended with a reception hosted by MRGCD.

Northern New Mexico: On the second day the group toured areas north of Espanola, including an organic farm, the Alcalde Research Station, and the Santuario de Chimayo and had a great “barbacoa” at the home of Estevan Arellano in Embudo. Aimee Gonzalez, a third year law student, assisted with translation. Juan Massey and Laura Chaparro of the Mexican Affairs and Trade Division of the New Mexico Economic Development Department provided assistance.

(Click here to view photos of the tour.)

In September 2006, the Water Work Table sponsored a tour of the Delicias Irrigation District near Chihuahua City, Mexico. Representatives of irrigation districts and acequia associations in New Mexico were invited to join the Water Table in touring the state-of-the-art irrigation project developed to help implement water conservation techniques to assist Mexico in meeting its water delivery obligations to the U.S. under the 1944 Treaty. The Utton Center organized the trip and the group traveled by van from Santa Teresa to Ciudad Chihuahua and were met by Mexican members of the Water Table for the tour. See pictures and other information about Delicias on the PowerPoint presented by Susan Kelly at the 2006 Annual Fall UNM Water Forum

Bellagio Draft Treaty

The Bellagio Draft Treaty on transboundary groundwater was developed by a group of experienced legal practitioners and scientists from many parts of the world convened by Professor Albert Utton to identify basic requirements for the joint protection and use of aquifers shared by two or more countries. The Utton Transboundary Resources Center, established to honor and carry on the work of Al Utton, models some of its projects on the same process of interdisciplinary and international collaboration that he used to develop the draft treaty.

The Bellagio project began when Al Utton and Mexican Ambassador César Sepúlveda convened a group in 1977 to study groundwater issues because existing international water treaties and commissions had limited jurisdiction over groundwater and were not addressing emerging issues. Many proposals and drafts were circulated over the years, culminating in a 1987meeting at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center in Italy. The notes and tapes from that meeting became the basis for the Bellagio Draft Treaty, authored by Professors R.D. Hayton, G. E. Radosevich and Albert E. Utton.

The draft treaty proposes principles and institutional mechanisms for countries to jointly address such shared groundwater management issues as uncontrolled drawdown, depletion, drought reserves, water quality, protection of recharge areas, and public health emergencies, along with procedures for settling disputes.

English ( PDF document )

Revised and Augmented by ROBERT D. HAYTON and ALBERT E. UTTON
Transboundary Groundwaters: The Bellagio Draft Treaty

Spanish ( PDF document )

Revisado y aumentado por ROBERTO D. HAYTON y ALBERT E. UTTON
Aguas Subterráneas Transfonterizas: Anteproyecto de Tratado “Bellagio”, Traducción por Carmen l. de Campoy y Raquel L. de Barbuzza