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Lower Rio Grande Water Users’ Organization Who are we? Where to get more information: 1 Organization The City of Las Cruces*

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Presentation on theme: "Lower Rio Grande Water Users’ Organization Who are we? Where to get more information: 1 Organization The City of Las Cruces*"— Presentation transcript:

1 Lower Rio Grande Water Users’ Organization Who are we? Where to get more information: 1 Organization The City of Las Cruces* Dona Ana County Dona Ana Mutual Domestic Water Consumers Association The Town of Mesilla The Anthony Water and Sanitation District The Village of Hatch Elephant Butte Irrigation District New Mexico State University *Fiscal agent Appointed Member Mayor Bill Mattiace Karen Perez Charles Huestis Jesus Caro Patrick Banegas Mayor Judd Nordyke Gary Esslinger Dr. Karl Wood (Chair) Technical Committee Jorge Garcia Sue Padilla Mariano Martinez Debbie Lujan Patrick Banegas Rob Richardson Dr. Phil King Dr. Bobby Creel

2 2 Where is it?

3 3 Why is it needed: A Quarter Century of Water Planning In the Lower Rio Grande 1980 Basin declared to be under administrative control by State Engineer Steve Reynolds Response to City of El Paso’s attempt to drill 266 wells in New Mexico and export ground water Amount requested equaled what EBID delivered to 90,640 acres or 270,000 acre-ft State Engineer had not exercised any administration in lower Rio Grande prior to declaration

4 4 1. State Engineer formed legal team 2. Governor’s office formed a Water Law Study Committee 3. Southern New Mexico formed a defense team Experts in: Hydrology Population Growth Water Demand Public Welfare Tasked to determine water needs of Southern New Mexico in future This started the initial water plan for southcentral New Mexico 1980 Other New Mexico Reactions to El Paso

5 5 EBID filed suit against Office of State Engineer and United States for an adjudication to address issues of groundwater pumping and impairment of Rio Grande 1986 Ultimately in the 1990s, State Engineer Tom Turney agreed to adjudication after receiving funding from the legislature

6 Decision based on their ability to obtain surface water from Bureau of Reclamation and El Paso Irrigation District contracts Steve Reynolds rules against El Paso

7 7 1988El Paso appeals State Engineer Steve Reynolds’ ruling to state district court District Court dismisses case El Paso appealed to NM Court of Appeals, which ordered mediation Retired Judge Perez brokered a settlement with understanding that El Paso would look towards using Texas’ Rio Grande Project water

8 8 As part of the settlement, the New Mexico – Texas Water Commission was formed 1991 It originally included Elephant Butte Irrigation District, City of Las Cruces, and New Mexico State University This New Mexico portion eventually became the Lower Rio Grande Water Users’ Organization with almost all water suppliers in Dona Ana County

9 9 LRGWUO develops initial regional water plan, which included future surface water treatment plants 1991 Locally funded

10 LRGWUO’s hydrologic model is shared with the OSE for future administration of the lower Rio Grande by the OSE

11 11 Elephant Butte Irrigation District Bureau of Reclamation El Paso County Improvement District 2001 continue to litigate in federal courts over claimed improper allocation of surface water and uses of groundwater

12 12 LRGWUO successfully pursues legislation that allows formation of Special Water User Associations Allows: 1.Governmental agencies to acquire surface water rights in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District 2.Eventual placement of water into surface water treatment plants 2003 LRGWUO obtains funding from the Interstate Stream Commission to develop a updated regional water plan 2002

13 13 Plan based on premise that surface water treatment plants are in the future for LRG LRGWUO submits updated regional plan to Interstate Stream Commission 2004 City of Las Cruces and Dona Ana Mutual are currently planning surface water plants

14 Elephant Butte Irrigation District developed real time measurement of water diversions and state-of-the-art conservation techniques Used funds from Interstate Stream Commission, North American Development Bank (NADBANK), and Bureau of Reclamation

15 15 If the State Engineer is compelled to conduct priority administration due to drought, the tools necessary to do so were not yet in place with incomplete adjudications. OSE adopts program called Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) The tools for AWRM included: (1)measuring and metering (2)rules and regulations regarding priority calls without an adjudication (3)creation of water districts and appointment of water masters (4)development of water master manuals. State Engineer’s New Concern2005 Primary objective is to ensure deliveries downstream to Texas and Mexico.

16 LRGWUO objects to at least 21 of the Basin Specific Regulations Especially those that: 1.Create exceptions to the prior appropriation doctrine 2.Set maximum diversion per acre for any crop for any year at 4.0 acre feet rather than Beneficial Use OSE accepts only the three least important objections LRGWUO and OSE agree to jointly formulate Basin Specific Regulations for the Active Water Resource Management program OSE published draft Basin Specific Regulations

17 17 Bureau of Reclamation implements an Elephant Butte Irrigation District proposal to allocate water to EBID and El Paso Irrigation District called D3 What is D3 exactly? And where did it come from? 2006

18 Previous Reclamation Allocation Method (Used Prior to 2006) Mexico is given its allocation of surface water first, based on relationship of release to diversion derived from New Mexico and Texas divide what is left for diversion New Mexico’s EBID Allocation = 57% of what is left EBID allots and delivers to farmers, Special Water User Associations, etc. Texas’ EPCWID allocation = 43% of what is left EPCWID allots and delivers to farmers, City of El Paso, etc.

19 Diversion/Conveyance Crop Water Use Irrigation Canal Field Drain Rio Grande Hydrologic Cycle

20 Problem Increasing groundwater depletions in New Mexico may reduce return flow, thereby reducing allocation to New Mexico and Texas irrigation districts Texas’ EPCWID#1’s allocation would be affected Interstate litigation was probable Examples: Texas v. New Mexico on the Pecos Kansas v. Colorado on the Arkansas

21 D3 Method Proposed by New Mexico’s EBID in April 2006 Implemented by U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in late July 2006 Ties allocations to Mexico & Texas to release from Caballo based on conditions EBID/New Mexico get whatever is left

22 22 Mexico 60,000 AF Texas 377,000 AF Wet Years LRG Release Effluent Runoff Drains EBID Surface EBID Ground M&I Ground Elephant Butte & Caballo Reservoirs

23 23 Mexico ~ 10% Texas Dry Years LRG Release Effluent Runoff Drains EBID Surface EBID Ground M&I Ground Elephant Butte & Caballo Reservoirs

24 24 Mexico ~ 10% Texas ~ 40% D LRG Release Effluent Runoff Drains EBID Surface EBID Ground M&I Ground Elephant Butte & Caballo Reservoirs

25 Advantages of D baseline is used Texas’ EPCWID and Mexico are protected from depletions in New Mexico Consistent with Texas’ EPCWID’s adjudicated water right New Mexico maintains flexibility in surface water and groundwater conjunctive management Defensible position for New Mexico

26 26 Conclusions: 1.Acceptance of D3 reduces likelihood of future challenges from Texas on NM pumping of groundwater and its affects on deliveries of surface water to Texas. 2.Allocation of Project water by Bureau of Reclamation ensures availability of water to Texas and Mexico. 3.LRGWUO is developing conjunctive management plan implementing the 2004 Regional Water Plan. 4.Addresses the primary motivation for AWRM, making it largely unnecessary. 5.The OSE is needed to continue the adjudication process.

27 Historically, any water not used by EBID, Texas, and Mexico stays in Elephant Butte and is redistributed January 1 to NM, TX, and Mexico. Carryover is not allowed. Desire carryover storage and accounting – Impact of carryover on annual allocation – Limits on annual and cumulative carryover Role of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) in Project Operations & Management Automation of and access to Caballo release gates Current Issues for EBID

28 28 LRGWUO Tasks El Paso/Las Cruces Regional Water Project funded by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Phase I 1.Installation of Deep Piezometers 2.Feasibility of Aquifer Storage and Recovery 3.Water Rate Study 4.Northern Dona Ana county Waste Treatment Plant Implementation 5.Review of transfers of surface water from irrigation to domestic use 6.Evapotranspiration study Phase II 1.Hydrologic Framework for Rincon Valley 2.Hatch Surface Water Facility 3.Chaparral Water Supply Study 4.Hydrologic Framework for Mesilla Basin 5.Town of Mesilla Water Rate Study and Basic Supply Capacity 6.Unified Groundwater Model for the Lower Rio Grande 7.U.S. Geological Survey Well Equiping

29 29 Southern New Mexico Needs For The Future Include: 1.OSE to provide the current Lower Rio Grande hydrologic model to the LRGWUO (Expanded version originally developed by LRGWUO members) 2. Withdrawal of improper parts of the lower Rio Grande Basin Specific Regulations promulgated under Active Water Resource Management by the Office of the State Engineer

30 30 Southern New Mexico Needs For Future $Funding$ Include: 1.Final planning for placement of regional surface water treatment plants and their construction 2. Placement and implementation of regulation reservoirs and infrastructure to capture all water that is entitled to New Mexico 3. Make this captured water available to surface water treatment plants and agriculture

31 31 Questions?


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