tijuana sewage
The Tijuana River flows throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region in San Diego. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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The Tijuana River: A Binational Environmental Crisis

By MacKenzie Elmer and Vicente Calderón 

Visuals by Adriana Heldiz


The Tijuana River sewage crisis has been raging for decades. It’s one of the most pressing environmental emergencies in the region. Southern California beaches are forced to close regularly due to pollution from the river, and Tijuana residents suffer the consequences of poor sewage and water infrastructure that puts their health at risk.

The U.S. and Mexico have a long history with this crisis that ultimately belongs to both countries. Our reporting series aims to reveal the root problems, possible solutions and the impact on the region’s land and people.

Recent Reporting

San Diego 101: Know the Basics

San Diego 101 is a video series from VOSD made to educate San Diegans about some of the most important issues that shape our region. These videos explain the basics of U.S.-Mexico border relations.

Thank You

This series is produced by Voice of San Diego in partnership with the Tijuanapress.com and with support from The Water Desk at the University of Colorado Boulder and The Pulitzer Center. Our binational, bilingual reporting and photojournalism series illuminates longstanding environmental issues that severely impact quality of life along the border.