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A History of the Gila River Basin in New Mexico

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Presentation on theme: "A History of the Gila River Basin in New Mexico"— 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 Historical Events 1935 – First Court Case on Water
June 29 – Globe Equity Decree Entered NM included only to the extents 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 Had a major interest in the outcome NM only using a small portion of water created within our boundaries 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 Decided it was unreasonable to withhold water from senior users downstream for new “junior” appropriations in NM

7 The Decision Low flow periods were the big issue
Could senior rights be met during these times? Could 1935 Globe Equity not be impaired?

8 Special Master’s Report
Present uses as determined by Rifkind came in way below NM’s claims California began effort to downgrade all claims made by NM Water rights in entire basin challenged by CA attorneys based on tax records

9 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

10 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 Act water could be used to meet the future needs in the basin

11 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 Rifkind if NM would complete the Gila Hydro-Survey in 4 years

12 NM Adjudication 6th 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

13 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 Reynolds foresight provided for the additional development and growth lost in AZ –v- CA

14 In The Meantime… Numerous applications were on file with the OSE
Most were denied because we had no allowances under the Decree to approve THOSE limitations kept the people of the Gila from continuing to develop water

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 70’s – NM CAP Storage Alternatives Reviewed
Hooker Dam Conner Dam Mangus Creek Each alternative turned into an environmental battle and was not accepted

17 2004 – A New Chance Arizona Water Settlements Act signed by President George W. Bush A mechanism for use of CAP water by NM is now in place The process for NM is established

18 The Real Deal The people that have been adversely affected in the basin, the families that have suffered economically as a result of AZ –v- CA…..

19 Gila Valley families The families that have roots in the basin that pre-date statehood AND the people that the original CAP water was intended to make whole…..

20 Gila Valley families MUST be considered paramount in this process. They have lost family traditions, family lands and their heritage as part of the issues created by the Decree in 1957.

21 Outside Looking In… The Gila is the crown jewel of the southwest
The uniqueness and beauty solicit a steady flow of new residents planning on living, working and raising families in the valley.

22 The Problem The continued transfer of agricultural rights to accommodate new growth is inefficient and reduces habitat for endangered species Additional water must be provided to meet these needs

23 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

24 What Can You Do? Get educated Get involved Don’t get frustrated
STAY involved – the future of the valley depends on it

25 Questions

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