The United States and Mexico have agreed on a water pact that could give relief to farmers in the drought-stricken Rio Grande Valley and end Mexico's debt of around 1.5 million acre-feet of water that has accumulated since 1992.

The first release under the pact involves 90,000 acre-feet of water from the Falcon Reservoir along the border west of San Antonio. The agreement also calls for future releases intended to ease the water debt and financial investment from both countries to conserve water and improve the system's efficiency. No specific release date was given as of press time.

Mexico is seeking funds for a huge irrigation improvement project that could involve funds from the jointly controlled North American Development Bank. But Texas farmers and politicians have said the United States should not send funds to help Mexican farmers while Mexico owed water to U.S. farmers.

Under a 1944 treaty, Mexico and the United States share water from the Rio Grande in Texas and the Colorado River in the western United States. Under the treaty, Mexico receives 1.8 billion-acre feet of water a year from the United States, four times the amount it gives to its northern neighbor.