Discussion about strategies to defend and protect water rights in Catron County and the Southwest
Lif, We have submitted our letter in the prescribed time and format. We wish to support the CCWC. What else can we do to help? Roger & Jeanne Daigger. 832-683-7377
Thanks for getting involved, Roger and for sending your letter in a timely manner. As we become more organized, I'll be posting info on what needs to be done here and on the website, and will email people directly. Meanwhile, any ideas you have for organizing and for preserving and protecting our water rights from such as Broe and Augustin Plains Ranch in the future would be appreciated. Email me directly or post your ideas here!
I just found this blog and have read most of it with interest. I'm not a resident of Catron Co.or an owner of any water right-surface or ground, but have been kind of considering the area as a place to retire.After reading the Hydrologic Report linked below, I'm curious about what the Coalition is so worried about. The water budget for the Plains of San Agustin is reported in surplus with leakage deep in the subsurface. Withdrawal of old Pleistocene groundwater from 2000 feet below land surface is unlikely to affect shallow well supply IMHO or have any affect on springs located at a higher elevation than the water producing acquifer in the proposed wells. Are there any springs in the Plains of San Agustin that issue from an elevation of 4500' or so?The other question that occurs to me is: Does this ranch have a right to use groundwater beneath their land? Would it be more acceptable to the Coalition if they proposed to install irrigation to grow hay for their cattle? Just curious.
Anonymous: There is nothing in the 1972 hydrology report which could predict a "surplus" of water for more than 35 years later, surplus of course being a relative thing. Leakage does not indicate surplus (overflow), since that leakage could just as well be from the bottom of the aquifer as from the top. Additionally, there is no way to guarantee that removal of water from a 2000ft. depth would not affect other water, particularly if there is fracturing above it; in fact there appears to be information that indicates such fracturing does exist.As to your last point, no one has right to use any water until the State Engineer issues the right. There may be domestic/residential water rights that the ranch owns (rights to a much more limited quantity of water than the ranch is applying for) but to my knowledge, at this time the ranch does not have any right to any other groundwater under its land. If the ranch was to apply for permits for local (on site) and reasonable use, I'm sure the Coalition would be much happier, but that is not what the ranch is applying for. The ranch is applying to pump millions of gallons out of the ground and export it - an entirely different thing.
Lif: Well I spent a couple of hours replying to your post in detail but it's not here. The abstract is that you don't understand the main conclusion of the hydrologic report: 100,000 acft is leaking to the south annually. This is 5% of the annual precipitation. The elevation of the water table at the spill point is what counts and it's lower than the anywhere else in the basin, so the proposed well field won't affect the shallow water as long as the withdrawals are less than recharge. What gives anyone the right to tell their neighbors what is a "reasonable" use of their resources unless they can show harm? thanks for replying to my 1st post.
Anonymous: I don't set the rules and I don't interpret them - I'm not an attorney or a hydrologist. The state of NM and the OSE say that water use is subject to prior appropriation and must not be contrary to public welfare, among other things. "Reasonable use", in my opinion, doesn't include sucking billions of gallons out of a limited aquifer to sell it elsewhere - not in dry country like this. That sort of action is like clear cutting forests, strip mining, all those things which loot our natural resources for profit.As I'm not in the habit of getting in debates with people who don't reveal who they are, this will be my last reply to you.
Lif: Prior appropriation applies to surface water and ground water associated with surface water. I honestly am ignorant about NM ground water law and consequently don't know whether the principle of priority applies. Nothing I've read here presents credible evidence of harm to the public welfare. A more reasonable approach to oppostion to the permit application in my view would be to seek to limit the volume of ground water sought to a volume proportionate to the area of the surface of the basin that is owned by the ranch. I have no clue what the facts are, but for example if they own 100 sections and the basin comprises 1000 sections then it might be reasonable to limit their apropriation to 1/10 of the annual recharge. Like I said before, I don't have a dog in this fight, however I choose not to reveal my identity so I guess the dialogue is ended. At least I learned something about the hydrology of the Plains of San Agustin and current affairs in Catron Co.
http://www.earthscape.org/p1/boc01/found this. might help educate
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