Dani Prokop had a really helpful story last week explaining what happens next in the Texas v. New Mexico (and technically Colorado, too, right?) lawsuit over the rules for sharing the Rio Grande’s water.
To refresh memory, the three states in February announced a proposed settlement. Key bits from Dani’s update:
- It’s not done yet. The court still has to approve it. Or not.
- Lots of people in southern New Mexico hate it. The reason they hate it is…
- Because folks on New Mexico’s lower Rio Grande will have to use less water than they are currently.
But because of climate change, and the compact changes, water use below Elephant Butte needs cuts and additional supplies, (State Engineer Mike Hamman) said. During the legislative session, the legal team for New Mexico said they expected cuts to 17,000 acre-feet in pumping below Elephant Butte.
The Office of the State Engineer’s plan – which said it needed more development and public involvement – called for buying 7,000 acres at $9,000 an acre, and a leasing program which would reduce another 3,500 acres over five years. The state estimated those two projects would cost about $76 million.
Dani’s work at SourceNM has become must read for New Mexico water stuff.