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A History of the Gila River Basin in New Mexico Events, Adjudications and Limitations Presented by: Tink Jackson District 3 Manager, OSE NM Gila River.

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Presentation on theme: "A History of the Gila River Basin in New Mexico Events, Adjudications and Limitations Presented by: Tink Jackson District 3 Manager, OSE NM Gila River."— Presentation transcript:

1 A History of the Gila River Basin in New Mexico Events, Adjudications and Limitations Presented by: Tink Jackson District 3 Manager, OSE NM Gila River Watermaster

2 Court Cases 1935 – First Court Case on Gila in NM –June 29 – Globe Equity Decree Entered –NM included only to the extent of the surface water of the Virden Valley 1952 – Arizona sues California over Colorado River Supply –Grows to include settlement of rights on Gila between NM and AZ

3 California ’ s Motivation AZ – v- CA –NM included at the request of California –California ’ s effort was to secure water for future uses from Colorado River –California claimed that Arizona could meet some of her needs with Gila water

4 New Mexico ’ s Concerns New Mexico was both an involuntary and unwilling party. –Wanted to avoid the expense –BUT, Had a major interest in the outcome –NM was only using a small portion of water created within our boundaries –NM was allowing 270,000 acre-feet to flow downstream

5 Rifkind 1955 – The USSC appointed the Honorable Simon Rifkind as Special Master –To determine water use and needs in both NM and AZ 1957 – Rifkind Report limited NM to current uses at that time

6 Rifkind Reasoning Rifkind was concerned with unpredictable flow of the Gila River Considered the river over-appropriated –NM using less than 10% of water produced Decided it was unreasonable to withhold water from senior users downstream for new “ junior ” appropriations in NM

7 Special Master ’ s Report Present uses as determined by Rifkind came in way below NM ’ s claims –1930’s report by SE showed approximately 30,000 acres irrigated in Gila Basin –Declarations filed by NM users were ignored –NM originally “offered” 10,878 acres

8 NM Response Protested the Special Master Report Steve Reynolds entered into negotiations with AZ to improve NM ’ s position - other states resisted NM/AZ process State Engineer started looking for other options

9 Central Arizona Project NM decided to work to secure the right to 18,000 acre-feet as part of the CAP Act Acquiring was a more viable option than continuing litigation under AZ – v- CA CAP water could be used to fill gaps and meet the future needs in the basin

10 The Rifkind Negotiation The State Engineer did secure some benefit from AZ – v- CA negotiations The parties agreed to allow a 15% increase in the amounts recommended by Rifkin if NM would complete the Gila Hydro-Survey in 4 years –NM ended up with 12,226 acres allowed –Still not enough to meet current uses

11 NM Adjudication th Judicial District Court adjudicated the rights in the Gila Basin in NM Court found the limitations set by the USSC to be far below actual uses Sections of the basin were therefore over- adjudicated from day one

12 Continued CAP Work USSC decision opened the way for Colorado River water to be used in NM CAP water could be used to offset the effects of increased uses in NM & make- up lost rights Reynolds foresight provided for filling the gaps and additional development and growth lost in AZ – v- CA

13 The Real Deal NM could not win!!! –We were outnumbered and out-gunned! GSF hydro-survey completed to “match Decree” and not “find rights” – not today Issues not addressed –Korean War ( ) –Drought

14 Same Today??? Northern New Mexico acequia’s are being adjudicated rights that have not been used since the 1800’s! LRG groundwater rights not exercised since mid-1950’s are being adjudicated today (from the same time frame)

15 Who Was Affected The residents of the Gila-San Francisco Basin were the only citizens in New Mexico affected by the Decree The primary purpose of the CAP water was to offset those effects

16 The Problem GSF is “frozen in time” The continued transfer of agricultural rights to accommodate new growth is inefficient and reduces habitat for endangered species Additional surface water must be provided to meet these needs

17 Why Not Ground Water? Look at it as bank accounts Surface water is your monthly income – it is “renewable” Ground water is your savings account – it took YEARS to build that account up Why let our pay check - the renewable source - go to Arizona while you drain your savings account?

18 The Environment A do nothing approach does NOTHING to protect the environment The diversion of water under the AWSA is only peak flows – not base flows Storage facilities and conveyances could create additional habitat of significant proportions


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