Water: The Heartbeat of the Rio Grande Valley

When people think of McAllen, Texas, they often envision a vibrant border town brimming with cultural richness and agricultural economies. But there's another critical element that keeps this city thriving: water.

Situated in the fertile Rio Grande Valley, McAllen’s existence and prosperity hinge on the mighty Rio Grande. This river is more than just a water source—it's the heartbeat of the region. Water sustains the fields of citrus and vegetables, supports the bustling agriculture industry, and provides a refreshing oasis from the Texas heat. The Rio Grande’s waters nourish the land and fosters the city’s growth. 

However, this vital resource is as fragile as it is essential. Threats of ongoing drought and declining reservoirs remind the community of the precious nature of water. Understanding and managing this finite resource is crucial to ensuring McAllen continues to flourish, keeping its fields green, its rivers flowing, and its people thriving.

Water is the Key Ingredient for Life in


Without irrigation, the Valley could lose nearly $993 million in agricultural output and thousands of jobs​

McAllen saves millions of gallons yearly through efficient irrigation and water recycling.

85% of Rio Grande Valley's irrigated land is dedicated to citrus and vegetable farming.

The Rio Grande supplies 90% of McAllen’s water supply.

Forty species of fish, hundreds of birds, and thousands of insects rely on the Rio Gande river to survive in Texas’s desert climate.
National Park Service
It takes about 528 gallons of water to serve up your daily diet.
Fast Company
That pint of beer your swigging took about 150 gallons of water to fill. Bottoms up.
It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub.
The Water Calculator
It takes around 225 gallons of water to make 1 pound of tortillas.
Chapagain and Hoekstra
Read More Texas Stats

Different parts of Texas have different relationships with water.

See how these other regions handle their water.

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