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Program Assessment


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International Boundary and Water Commission

The International Boundary and Water Commission applies US-Mexico boundary and water treaties. The Commission addresses border demarcation, flood control, and transboundary water allocation and quality issues. It operates border infrastructure, including international dams, power plants and wastewater treatment facilities.


What This Rating Means


This is the highest rating a program can achieve. Programs rated Effective set ambitious goals, achieve results, are well-managed and improve efficiency.
  • The Commission is instituting a more cost effective approach to project management. New technologies and methods are being used to more efficiently evaluate its approximately 500 miles of Rio Grande levees. These new technologies are reducing levee evaluations costs over traditional geotechnical methods by more than 50%, while substantially increasing the data available on the levee systems.
  • The Commission is achieving its goal of reducing risk to life and property from dam failure. Independent inspections are conducted at storage and diversion dams by a panel of experts every five years to identify deficiencies and safety improvements. The Commission has increased the implementation of safety recommendations from 33% in 2000 to 80% in 2007.
  • The Commission's water quantity programs directly benefit US citizens. About 98% of water used in the Lower Rio Grande Valley is released from its reservoirs, providing potable water for 1.5 million US and Mexican border residents, averaging $95 million in irrigation benefits, $29 million in municipal and industrial water supply benefits, and $55 million in recreation/fish and wildlife benefits.

Improvement Plan

About Improvement Plans

We are taking the following actions to improve the performance of the program:

  • Conducting an independent, comprehensive assessment to evaluate the program's effectiveness.
  • Developing more aggressive plans to address weaknesses identified in Safety of Dam inspections.
  • Implementing tougher standards that hold managers accountable for planning that considers alternatives, cost effectiveness, realistic timelines, measurable performance data, and achieving results.

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