New Mexico’s Rio Grande, at the U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow (Wed. March 20, 2024) about the fate of ongoing litigation between Texas and New Mexico about how to share the waters of the Rio Grande.

The two states (Colorado is technically a party two, but this is really Texas v. New Mexico) have what they think is a deal, which involves a new measurement point for water deliveries to Texas and likely significant reductions in irrigation on the New Mexico side of the border.

Dani Prokop at Source New Mexico has been covering this like a beat reporter, by which I mean thoroughly and well. I’ll direct you to her setup story published this morning for more on what to expect, and when. But I’d like to call out something my UNM School of Law colleague Reed Benson told her, which has broader implications <cough>Colorado River</cough>:

With the length and complexity of the cases, they often take more than one court opinion, and sometimes more than one special master overseeing the case. But there’s one crucial difference in this case, Benson said: the states are willing to work together.

“If this settlement proves to be able to get it resolved in a decade, it is, I would say, a positive development, as we look at the challenges of interstate water management, as rivers are more and more affected by climate change,” he said. “It’s good to see the states be able to resolve their differences.”

In addition to the daily scene-setter, Prokop also published a terrific deep dive into the background of the case.

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