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Public Service Announcement Issued by El Paso Sector

Release Date: 
March 16, 2018

EL PASO, Texas--The El Paso Sector Border Patrol, in collaboration with the International Boundary and Water Commission, is advising the public that irrigation season is now underway. The goal of the message is to inform and educate the public about the dangers of the current water levels in the Rio Grande, and American Canal System.

Water is scheduled for release from the Caballo Dam on March 16, 2018.  The water will quickly reach the borderland by March 19, 2018.  The public is strongly advised to avoid the river channels for their own safety. Water levels will fluctuate throughout the spring and summer months, according to irrigation demands. Here are some other related facts:

  • Depending on the speed of the current, it can be especially dangerous to cross the Rio Grande and American Canal 
  • The American Canal can be up to 18-feet deep in some areas
  • The undertow of the canal can also hit speeds of up to 25-mph
  • Agents in El Paso are thoroughly trained to conduct land-based swift water rescues
  • The U.S. Border Patrol has strategically placed rescue boxes with various floatation devices to assist agents to conduct water rescues in either the American Canal or Rio Grande
  • There will be U.S. Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) teams that are trained to do swift water rescues, and will be available during this period to rapidly respond to water emergencies
  • Smugglers attempt to exploit these canals and the river with no regard for human life, and the dangers that come with crossing these waterways 

One of the strategies to improve border safety and security is through prevention and awareness efforts by way of media campaigns, both foreign and domestic, in order to bring greater awareness and warn against the dangers for unsuspecting illegal migrants who illegally enter the United States through harsh terrains and dangerous environmental conditions.

Last modified: 
March 19, 2018