Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NM lawmakers: Water is critical issue this session

A bipartisan group of New Mexico legislators announced Tuesday that they have introduced a series of bills aimed at tackling what they consider to be a looming crisis as the state grapples with a persistent drought, dwindling water supplies and legal pressure from neighboring Texas. Among the changes, the bills would revamp the state's water plan, boost the number of judges who handle water rights and spend millions of dollars on infrastructure. With New Mexico heading into its third year of drought, nearly every square mile of the state is suffering from dry conditions. The snowpack in the northern mountains is dismal, rivers and reservoirs have reached historic lows and forecasters said more hot, dry weather is in store. New Mexico is also locked in a legal battle with Texas over sharing of the Rio Grande, which supplies water to thousands of farmers in both states. One of the bills being considered during New Mexico's 60-day legislative session calls for studying supply and demand issues along with the economic consequences of having such a limited water supply. "The bottom line is in this state, a desert state, future economic development turns with water," said Sen. John Arthur Smith, D-Deming, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee...more  

In that supply and demand study, one part should be a study of the amount of water in NM that has been allocated to the feds, the amount of pending claims by the feds and the impact of federal policy on NM's ability to develop and manage water resources.

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