Thursday, June 29, 2006

Call for Water Rights Info And MRGCD Gossip

I usually write about things I know nothing about in 'Burque Babble, but today will only ask about something I know nothing about: water rights. For reasons only marginally fathomable to me, I am suddenly interested in this topic. In particular, I'd like to read more about this Bill Turner/Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) brouhaha.

Strangely, this controversy I know nothing about snarkily makes its way to the MRGCD website itself with a posting disingenuously entitled "You Decide". Sounds like a really messy situation, the kind I get real politiporn arousal from.

Anybody got some lascivious details?

Oh yeah, I'd also like some more boring sources to explore on the general issue of water rights in NM, blah, blah, blah.


Anonymous said...

Scot - hit the "feedback" link and check the author's name. Sound familiar?

frannyzoo said...

That is SO great! Thanks took a minute or two, but solving the riddle was the highlight of my day. Oh, the nexus of journalism, government and citizen muckracking! Now I'm more into the issue than ever.

btw...I'm still looking for more info on the more mundane, less people-stabbing-each-other-with-long-knives aspect of the issue.

Scott said...


Steve Harris and Lynn Montgomery are both extremely knowledgeable, active and progressive. Janet Jarrett is also another voice representing farming interests south of ABQ. Frank Titus is also worth talking to on the Geo/hydro side. Sadly, the level heads on the public side seem to have moved on.

To get proper context you really have to go back to the early Water Assembly days and then work your way forward. Be forewarned, it's kinda overwhelming/depressing.

Here's an excerpt from a conversation I had with Steve a few months back:

> Last, can you give me a quick rundown of what specifically relates to ABQ with the case at the State District Court of Appeals?

----Uh, here's a stab at answering that one: 1. We're asking recusal of state engineer D'Antonio, since he assisted CABQ in preparing its permit application (when he was OSE division supervisor), then ruled favorably on the permit when he was the deciding officer. 2. We're asking that surface and groundwater permits be administered conjunctively. OSE set this precedent in Alamogordo, just months before CABQ ruling. Looks like Albuquerque might be getting preferential treatment. 3. We're asking that present offset requirements not be permitted to be met with groundwater rights, which themselves will have to be offset. If I drew you a picture, it would look like a spiral. Again, (with seeming prejudice toward CABQ) this policy has conditioned other permits, but not Albuquerque's.

---Interesting side note. Did you see that the Fish and Wildlife Service is delaying the start of Santa Fe's surface water diversion project because of river flow concerns? (needs a consultation). Okay, so Santa Fe (with a 10 kafa planned diversion) gets held to a higher standard than Albuquerque (with a 100 kafa diversion)?

> There's also quite a lot of movement (surprisingly, with some progress) on the west-side overdevelopment issue now that Westland is looking like something might happen. What are the ramifications (Compact compliance) of Westland and Mesa Del Sol being developed, even if ABQ meets it's 150gpd goal?

---I think this is the overarching issue on the surface water diversion project.: "follow the money". With the organization of the Water Utility Authority, suddenly what was an Albuquerque project becomes a county-wide project. The calculus of a necessary future water supply expands. SJC plus groundwater doesn't necessarily satisfy this, at least not very far into the future. Building out Westlands and Mesa del Sol would really exacerbate an already shaky situation. Its pure denial and wishful thinking, in which the Richardson Administration is clearly complicit. Can they say "sustainablility"? with a straight face?

I'm glad to see that Anaya's Alburquerque is back in print. Perhaps locals will read it and be struck with the parallels between the fictional situation and the actual?


You might want to take a look at the NM Water dialogue and Rio Grande Restoration websites. Next week, there is a benefit up in Pilar for Rio Grande Restoration that may be worth going to to meet some folks face to face:

You're Invited to join in a fun-raising benefit for Rio Grande Restoration
"Voice for the Rio Grande"

When: Thursday, July 6, 2006, 5:00-7:00 pm
Where: Pilar Yacht Club, corner of State Highways 68 and 570
What: Dinner from the PYC evening menu ($15/person, $25/couple) and

* Live music by Brent Berry and Ben Warren, professional boatmen and musicians, plus
* A brief update from RGR Director Steve Harris on latest efforts to protect streamflows in the Rio Grande.

For More Information, reservations contact Eva Behrens 505-758-9072


Finally, Lisa Robert wrote a great article "Hijacking the Rio Grande" that I can email you. Hell, I probably have half a hard drive's worth of stuff on water issues if you want it.



frannyzoo said...

Scott with the two T's:

Thanks for all the info and leading me to hours of exploration on the subject. Thanks, I think...the complexity has been a big hangup for me getting to know this issue beyond the simple turning of our acqequia wheel at the ditch.

That and the depressing aspects...but onward, I guess. Why do I get the feeling I'll need a frequent hot, cleansing shower when I read about the "Water Assembly"?

Scott said...

It's getting even more intense

BTW-Your welcome...and sorry!

But, if your turning a water wheel, you probably are better off dealing with a headache know vs. an anuerysm later.

I do think that the level heads that saw this coming will prevail, it's just a matter of when. Hopefully before it is too late and you are importing your hay from Montana!


Anonymous said...


I'm curious about this remark -

Why do I get the feeling I'll need a frequent hot, cleansing shower when I read about the "Water Assembly"?

What do you mean?