Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Open letter to NM Gov. Susana Martinez on AWSA projects and protection of true stakeholders

Dear Governor Martinez:

The Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) has been authorized by the state of New Mexico to assume responsibility for the design, construction, operation, maintenance, and replacement of projects for waters designated available by the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA).  To that end, people of the four counties of southwestern New Mexico for which the AWSA waters are available have been working since 2004 to develop projects to submit to ISC.

It is the ISC’s mandate to apply the best available science to consideration of these projects, taking into account the ecological impacts of the proposed water uses while also considering the historic uses of and future demands for water in the Gila Basin, and the traditions, cultures and customs affecting those uses.

Unfortunately, what is and should be a relatively straightforward legal process has been distorted beyond functionality.... [read the rest]

Please write your own letter to Gov. Martinez and the ISC!

Monday, May 23, 2011

SAWC annual meeting 05/21/11

San Augustin Water Coalition Annual Meeting
Notes by Lif Strand [links have been added where they seemed useful]

Board Meeting:

Eileen Dodds (SAWC board member & treasurer):  This is SAWC’s  3rd year annual meeting.  Mission statement of SAWC:  To protect the water resources of the San Augustin and adjacent water basins, and the public welfare, and conservation of water associated with those water resources, now and in the future.

2010 was a year of concentrated activity on part of board members to spread word about water mining.  Several articles have a ppeared in local, regional papers, including the Albuquerque Journal, and on websites, such as the New Mexico Water Dialogue, current issue.

Anita Hand and Eileen Dodds were guests of Don Tripp last November.  They met with the Water and Natural Resources Committee to heighten their awareness of the water situation. 

The May 20, 2011 OSE meeting cancelled due to the retirement of Victor Kovach (hearing officer).  We will now have to start over with a new hearing officer.  SAWC will keep all informed; please make sure SAWC has your email addresses.

Carol Pittman found a grant, applied and SAWC was awarded $5,000 to produce a brochure.  The funds covered the layout and printing of 10,000 copies.  The brochure will be distributed state-wide.

Goals for 2012 include possible drafting legislation requests to the Water & Natural Resource Committee.  SAWC also wants to encourage Catron County Commission to continue its vigilance. 

Current board:  Ruth Guin (chair), Roy Farr, Nicole Sanders, Eileen Dodds, Anita Hand, Linn Kennedy & Carol Pittman.

Election of 4 to board:  Two vacancies, plus Eileen & Anita’s positions.  Responsibilities – manages business & affairs of SAWC. 
  • Anita Hand’s position:  Reelected
  • Eileen Dodd’s position (including treasurer job):  Reelected
  • Two new positions increased to three, since SAWC bylaws allow for twelve.  Elected:  Dennis Inman, Don Wiltshire and Charlene Wagner

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SAWC annual meeting

Just a reminder that the San Augustin Water Coalition holds its annual meeting this Saturday, May 21.  You will find it interesting!
Spread the word if you can, as we did not do a mailing this year.
Carol Pittman
Annual Meeting of the San Augustin Water Coalition
Saturday, May 21
Datil Elementary School Gymnasium
4:00 to 5:15 food served
5:30 short meeting and election of Board members
followed by speakers
Steve Harris, Rio Grande Restoration
Caren Cowan, Executive Director, NMCGA
Don Tripp, State Representative, District 49
Richard McGuire, Catron County Commissioner

AWSA New Mexico water for New Mexicans

This is a call for help. Please pass it on if you agree!  Please act if you are willing!

The Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004 allows for an additional average of 14,000 acre feet of water to be developed in New Mexico from the Gila and San Francisco Rivers as well as $66M up to $128M for project development. People have been working since 2004  to develop plans for use of the water and money in the four county region of Catron, Grant, Luna and Hidalgo counties.  The Interstate Stream Commission has developed a two tier application procedure for projects (actually Tier II is still under development).

It is important to understand that by law this additional water use cannot impact the downstream water rights.  Since the water cannot cut into the downstream flow so as to reduce what people downstream are entitled to, it is obvious that the only way to get the water is to trap it during times of extreme flow, such as during flood or snow melt.

The problem is that the environmental community objects to dams and diversions on the Gila or San Francisco River.  The result would be that there is no way to keep water in New Mexico and the water continues on to Arizona.  This is not water that would be taken from wildlife habitat or farmers downstream - it is water that is flooding away to either just evaporate or end up in the ocean.  Environmental groups are urging their members to send letters to the State Engineer, the Interstate Stream Commission and others to promote their cause.  I probably don’t need to tell you the importance of keeping the water here, but suffice it to say that water = life. 

If we are to live here in Southwest NM, we must have water, too. Why should only people downstream of us have it to fill swimming pools, wash cars and water lawns while many of us are not even allowed to have faucets outside our houses to fill a dog's dish?  If we let this opportunity go now, it will probably never recur. 

Without going into the Act any deeper at this time, I am simply asking to you to send an email letter to Mr. Estevan Lopez, Director of the Interstate Stream Commission, Mr. Jim Dunlap, Chairman of the Interstate Stream Commission, to Mr. John D’Antonio, State Engineer, and/or to Governor Susana Martinez.  I am pasting an example letter you can work from or develop your own.  Note: this letter was supplied by Vance Lee, Chairman of the Gila/San Francisco Water Commission.  More info can be obtained at

Mr. Lopez:
Mr. Dunlap: (email address corrected 05/20/11)
Mr. D’Antonio:
Governor Martinez:

-------------------- sample email letter ---------------

May 19, 2011

Mr. Estevan Lopez, Director
New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission

Dear Mr. Lopez:

In regards to the Arizona Water Settlements Act and the effort of the Interstate Stream Commission to determine use of the additional water and money, please consider this as a request for the Commission to make every effort to base its decisions on keeping the additional water in Southwest New Mexico.  It is unacceptable to continue to allow water that can be made available for use in New Mexico to continue to flow downstream into Arizona.  I am confident that there will be acceptable proposals via the application procedure in place to develop the additional water and to put it to beneficial use.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SAWC annual meeting May 21

The annual meeting of the San Augustin Water Coalition is being held on Saturday, May 21 this year. Food will be offered from 4:00-5:15. The meeting starts at 5:30 PM at the Datil Elementary School gymnasium.

MAY 21, 2011

Mission Statement:  The purpose for which SAWC is organized is to protect the water resources of the San Augustin and adjacent water basins, and the public welfare and conservation of water associated with those water resources, now and in the future.


Registration is for the purpose of communication after the meeting.  The Board will attempt to keep everyone informed of the progress of the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC application.  Personal information, including email address, is kept confidential.

  1. Business Meeting.  Election to the Board.  Nominations for three three-year positions will be taken from the floor.
  2. Keynote Speakers
    1. Steve Harris, Rio Grande Restoration
    2. Caren Cowan, Executive Director, NMCGA
    3. Don Tripp, State Representative, District 49
    4. Richard McGuire, Catron County Commissioner
  3. Questions from the audience:  Please write your questions on your card to be collected by a volunteer.

San Augustin water grab hearing to be rescheduled

The hearing before the State Engineer scheduled for May 20 will be re-scheduled; the new date has not bee set yet.  The following came from Bruce Frederick, attorney for a lot of the protestants:
"The State Engineer vacated the 5/20 hearing, saying he had to because the hearing examiner retired."