From the pages of the Albuquerque Journal (sub/ad req), a look at the growing concerns regarding a deal between the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and Intel over water rights needed to cover Intel’s pumping:
A proposed agreement to use excess Rio Grande water to meet computer chip-maker Intel’s long-term water rights needs faces growing criticism as state officials push to complete the deal this week.
The river’s largest agricultural irrigation agency and the environmental group WildEarth Guardians — two groups that are typically adversaries — are raising questions about whether the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission has the legal right to the Rio Grande water it intends to use to cover Intel’s water needs.
Under the proposal, Intel would pay the Interstate Stream Commission $10 million and hand over water rights the company already owns. In return, the commission will use surplus Rio Grande water to meet Intel’s long-term water rights needs, which will increase in the future because of the company’s groundwater pumping.