Guardians filed two protests this week with the New Mexico State Engineer in an effort to protect flows in the Rio Grande. The protests challenge water transfer applications by the city of Rio Rancho, which wants to move agricultural water upstream for municipal uses as part of its push to change how nearly 261 million gallons of the Rio Grande’s water are used.
Those changes would threaten more than 130 miles of river vital to keeping the Rio wet through the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge. They’d also cripple New Mexico’s ability to meet its delivery obligation to Texas under the Rio Grande Compact—a document that determines how much water each state is responsible for delivering to the next state along the river’s length.
Historically, the State Engineer hasn’t placed terms and conditions on transfers like the city of Rio Rancho is proposing, even though these transfers often lead to the river’s depletion. Guardians intends to curb this passive attitude and force the state of New Mexico to take responsibility for its water use.
Read the press release.
Read about why the Rio Grande’s flows matter.