Tijuana River Reporting Series | Voice of San Diego

The Tijuana River

A Binational Environmental Crisis

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.


Recent Reporting 

Ponds of untreated sewage at Punta Bandera

Two Sources of U.S.-Mexico Sewage Flows Are Fighting for One Pot of Money

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.

tijuana sewage

Mexico Says It Fixed the Tijuana River Sewage Problem. It’s Partly True.

Mexican officials have claimed over the past few months that they have stopped spills in the Tijuana River and don’t need help from the feds on the other side of the border to fix the longstanding problem. Yet there’s still sewage flowing, and beaches are still closing and now there’s another problem.

Who Owns the Tijuana River – and Who Needs Its Water Most

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?

Tijuana River

Two Companies See a Golden Opportunity in the Tijuana River’s Brown Waters

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.

New Snapshot of What’s in the Tijuana River Is as Gross as You’d Expect

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.

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.

Thank You

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.