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 LimitationsPresented by:Tink JacksonDistrict 3 Manager, OSENM Gila River Watermaster
2 Historical Events 1935 – First Court Case on Water June 29 – Globe Equity Decree EnteredNM included only to the extents of the Virden Valley1952 – Arizona sues California over Colorado River SupplyGrows to include settlement of rights on Gila between NM and AZ
3 California’s Motivation AZ –v- CANM included at the request of CaliforniaCalifornia’s effort was to secure water for future uses from Colorado RiverCalifornia claimed that Arizona could meet some of her needs with Gila water
4 New Mexico’s ConcernsNew Mexico was both an involuntary and unwilling party.Wanted to avoid the expenseHad a major interest in the outcomeNM only using a small portion of water created within our boundariesAllowing 270,000 acre-feet to flow downstream
5 Rifkind1955 – The USSC appointed the Honorable Simon Rifkind as Special MasterTo determine water use and needs in both NM and AZ1957 – Rifkind Report limited NM to current uses at that time
6 Rifkind ReasoningRifkind was concerned with unpredictable flow of the Gila RiverConsidered the river over-appropriatedDecided 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 claimsCalifornia began effort to downgrade all claims made by NMWater 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 processState 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 ActAcquiring was a more viable option than continuing litigation under AZ –v- CAAct 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 negotiationsThe 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 Adjudication6th Judicial District Court adjudicated the rights in the Gila Basin in NMCourt found the limitations set by the USSC to be far below actual usesSections of the basin were therefore over-adjudicated from day one
13 Continued CAP WorkUSSC decision opened the way for Colorado River water to be used in NMCAP water could be used to offset the effects of increased uses in NMReynolds 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 approveTHOSE limitations kept the people of the Gila from continuing to develop water
15 Who Was AffectedThe residents of the Gila-San Francisco Basin were the only citizens in New Mexico affected by the DecreeThe primary purpose of the CAP water was to offset those effects
16 The 70’s – NM CAP Storage Alternatives Reviewed Hooker DamConner DamMangus CreekEach alternative turned into an environmental battle and was not accepted
17 2004 – A New ChanceArizona Water Settlements Act signed by President George W. BushA mechanism for use of CAP water by NM is now in placeThe process for NM is established
18 The Real DealThe 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 familiesThe 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 familiesMUST 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 ProblemThe continued transfer of agricultural rights to accommodate new growth is inefficient and reduces habitat for endangered speciesAdditional water must be provided to meet these needs
23 The EnvironmentA do-nothing approach does NOTHING to protect the environmentThe diversion of water under the AWSA is only peak flows – not base flowsStorage 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