Want the news summarized?
Subscribe to The Morning Report.
The Tijuana River: A Binational Environmental Crisis
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.
Maria Herrera had about a quarter left in her last five-gallon water jug. On that April afternoon, though, spotty water service returned to the 67-year-old woman’s apartment, before the jug emptied. If it hadn’t, that was all she had left to bathe, do housework or drink. Herrera lives in Villas de Santa Fe, a neighborhood…Keep reading
Southern California lawmakers hope Gov. Gavin Newsom will put $100 million in next year’s budget to be split equally between the Tijuana River and the Mexicali-to-Salton-Sea-flowing New River, both sewage-plagued water bodies.Keep reading
While San Diego waits for Congress to figure out how to get the border region its funding to build a bigger and better Tijuana sewage plant, the EPA and IBWC say they’ve found a path forward to avoid further delay.Keep reading
The lawsuits alleged that the International Boundary and Water Commission violated the federal Clean Water Act by allowing millions of gallons of raw sewage, heavy metals and other contamination to spill into San Diego.Keep reading
A giant pipe to the ocean is one of two main ways Tijuana sewage pollutes the coast. The other is the Tijuana River. These two spill points represent a choice regulators must make soon: Tackle the cause of the problem in Mexico, or its impacts in Southern California. Or somehow do both.Keep reading
Like a giant garbage disposal, three huge new green pipes sit on Mexico’s side of the border, shredding trash in the Tijuana River that would otherwise jam this critical piece of the city’s wastewater system that caused spills on the United States side. “It’s a dream come true,” said Rigoberto Laborín Valdez, the undersecretary of…Keep reading
The Mexican government says the water is theirs, at least before it crosses the border. And they’re exploring what to do with it. Who needs water from the Tijuana River the most, and who could take it in a region ruled by complex international treaties?Keep reading
Two competing forces – one from the United States and another from Mexico – are rethinking the region’s oldest and dirtiest problem, imagining it instead as a moneymaking opportunity.Keep reading
Though the results of a recently released water quality study of the Tijuana River are troubling, the real problem is that no one is keeping track of the river’s contents, past or present, on a regular basis.Keep reading
The EPA’s recent promise of $300 million to tackle border sewage issues appears to be cooling tempers and providing a pathway toward resolving a problem that’s existed essentially since the drawing of the current border.Keep reading
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.
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.