Wednesday, August 16, 2017
New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) are hosting free Domestic Well Water Testing events in Ruidoso on August 18 and 19, 2017 and Pecos on September 9, 2017. These well water testing events are great opportunities for area residents to check pH, specific conductance, and the levels of arsenic, fluoride, iron, sulfate, and nitrate in their well water. NMED and DOH staff will also be available to discuss concerns related to private wells and water quality. The Ruidoso event will take place at the Eastern New Mexico University- Ruidoso at 709 Mechem Drive, in Ruidoso. Water samples will be accepted from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday, August 18, and from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 19. The Pecos event will take place at the Pecos Municipal Building at 92 South main Street, in Pecos. Water samples will be accepted from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 9. To participate, residents need to bring at least a quart of their well water to the event. Well water should be collected in a clean container, prior to any treatment, and as close to the time of the event as possible. Participants should allow water to run a couple of minutes prior to collecting well water. Stay Connected with New Mexico Environment Department
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
U.S. Senator Tom Udall delivered the keynote address at New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute
SOCORRO, N.M. — Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall delivered the keynote address at New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute’s (WRRI) 62nd Annual N.M. Water Conference. In his address, entitled "Federal Water Policy and New Mexico: Our Progress and the Challenges Ahead," Udall discussed the current water challenges facing New Mexico, including climate change, innovative solutions and opportunities for making every drop count, and his work to improve federal water policy to best support New Mexico’s communities. Udall last addressed the NM WRRI Water Conference in 2012, and afterward issued a comprehensive report recommending 40 proposed actions based on suggestions contributed by the over 500 stakeholder participants. In his remarks today, Udall provided an update on his efforts to improve federal water policy affecting New Mexico communities — including his comprehensive drought legislation, now called the New Mexico Drought Preparedness Act, which he wrote based on the stakeholder recommendations in the 2012 report. Udall reintroduced the bill in June with Senator Martin Heinrich. “We face a 21st century supply and demand situation. Regional water managers expect that, in the coming decades, we will see water shortages everywhere in our state except the San Juan Basin. In the south, growth around the border zone in Santa Teresa and Las Cruces will drive even more demand for municipal and industrial water. And the climate is warming,” Udall said. "These are big challenges. Tensions can run high over water in the West. … Cooperation will be the only successful strategy -- to prepare for drought, to adapt to climate change, and to modernize our integrated water system. We must balance agriculture use, urban areas, and ecosystem needs." "We know drought will return,” Udall continued. "Now is the time to prepare." Udall also provided an update on two other pieces of legislation to improve efficiency and limit waste which emerged from the 2012 conference, the Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act, and the Water Efficiency Improvement Act. He is optimistic that both bills will move forward this year. Following his speech, Udall moderated a panel discussion, “Addressing hidden realities of new water opportunities," with several water experts, including Myron Armijo, governor of Santa Ana Pueblo; and Terry Brunner, chief program officer with Grow New Mexico. He also participated in a discussion with his cousin Brad Udall, senior water and climate research scientist/scholar at Colorado State University’s Colorado Water Institute, about the "Udall Water Legacy" and the influences that have shaped their views on water and Western water policy. The full text of Udall’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below. Illustrations shown during the speech are available here. Thank you for being part of this annual conference. It’s great to be back with you! Thank you President Wells and New Mexico Tech for hosting us here -- adjacent to the Rio Grande. This is the ideal backdrop for discussing smart strategies for the enormous water challenges facing our state today. And a huge thanks to Sam Fernald, Cathy Ortega Klett, and the team for organizing this important get together -- as they have done for many years running, now. This audience has the technological knowledge -- matched with innovative ideas -- to help ensure a sustainable future for New Mexico water. I have a great deal of respect for New Mexico’s Institute -- and the other states’ water research institutes. As a co-sponsor of the legislation to reauthorize these institutes, I am optimistic about its passage and continued solid bipartisan support for funding. I will do my part on the Senate Appropriations Committee. I am back here -- five years later -- to report back about the progress we’ve made since the 2012 conference. At that time, we discussed many policy ideas. And afterward, we issued a report full of actions to take. But before we get into that, I’d like to briefly talk about today’s water resource management landscape. Because that tricky picture shows why we need to come together like this and seek cooperative solutions. I always like to start with John Wesley Powell’s map of the watersheds in the West. I have this map hanging in my office in Washington. Powell thought state lines should follow those boundaries. And if they didn’t, there would be water problems. Well, he was right. On top of that, Western water has a 19th century legal framework – with 20th century infrastructure – and 21st century pressures of increasing demand and climate change. Our long-term water supply and consumption are out of balance – even with current conservation efforts. Water professionals here today know this in technical terms. Farmers here know this in personal terms. First, the legal system – based on the need to develop the West – rewards use, not conservation. Those laws are adapting -- but largely remain on the books. Next, our 20th century infrastructure is aging. Elephant Butte Dam just celebrated its centennial — and it is not alone. Water lines and treatment plants are many decades old. Across the country, we have more than $350 billion worth of water infrastructure needs. Much of that is simply maintenance and repair. Here are some quick statistics on why we should invest: •For every one dollar we spend on water infrastructure, we return six dollars to our gross domestic product; •Investment in water infrastructure contributes more than $150 billion each year to annual household income, and; •Failure to invest in water and wastewater systems will lead to the loss of nearly 500,000 jobs by 2025 and 950,000 jobs by 2040. The needs I am talking about are not big new dams and pipelines. The era of guaranteed big federal investment in new water projects is largely over. The budget pressures and environmental costs are just too large. So we need to focus primarily on maintaining the water infrastructure we have. And I hold out hope – and am pushing for – a federal infrastructure package that would help address these needs, especially in the West. President Trump may not spend a lot of time thinking about the Bureau of Reclamation. But Secretary Zinke does. And we are doing everything we can to work closely with him on infrastructure. I even went horseback riding with him the other day. Finally, we face a 21st century supply and demand situation. Regional water managers expect that, in the coming decades, we will see water shortages everywhere in our state except the San Juan Basin. In the south, growth around the border zone in Santa Teresa and Las Cruces will drive even more demand for municipal and industrial water. And the climate is warming. In the Southwest, we’ve seen a 2.5 degree temperature increase since 1971. Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2016 was Earth's warmest year on record. And it was the third year in a row that temperatures broke global records. The Bureau of Reclamation projects that the Rio Grande Basin will be hit the hardest over the coming century -- warming 5 to 6 degrees by 2100. That would cut the water flow south of Elephant Butte by half. And that is on top of a similar-size reduction from the San Juan Chama project – based on changes in New Mexico’s Colorado River allocations in low water years. These are big challenges. Tensions can run high over water in the West. Inter-basin transfers, endangered species, municipal versus rural users, Texas versus New Mexico, the U.S. versus Mexico. The list goes on. Cooperation will be the only successful strategy -- to prepare for drought, to adapt to climate change, and to modernize our integrated water system. We must balance agriculture use, urban areas, and ecosystem needs. Five years ago, we came together to discuss policy options to manage water scarcity in New Mexico. At that time, the state was in severe drought. Your insight and investment helped produce a report. It identified problem areas and made consensus-based policy recommendations, primarily in areas where the federal government can help. The signature result of that was the 2013 New Mexico Drought Relief Act. This spring, I reintroduced the bill for the third time, along with Senator Heinrich. We renamed it the New Mexico Drought Preparedness Act. You can see why. Here’s the most recent map of New Mexico drought conditions – from August 8 of this year. And here’s a map from four years ago – August 6, 2013. A marked – and welcome -- change. But we should be honest with ourselves—with 16 of the last 17 years as the hottest years on record—this reprieve is temporary. While the drought map looks much better, Dr. Phil King with New Mexico State has made an important point recently. Groundwater levels have been depressed since 2003, and Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoir are just above 16 percent and 18 percent capacity respectively. Drier conditions are likely our New Normal. The Drought Act includes provisions to: •Study the whole Rio Grande Basin with the National Academies of Science, •Study additional water storage opportunities to provide additional management flexibility, •Promote voluntary water sharing among stakeholders in the Middle Rio Grande, •Extend the Emergency Drought Relief Act to allow the Bureau of Reclamation adapt to strained water supplies, and •Use our current authorities more effectively. We know drought will return. Now is the time to prepare. We are making progress with the bill, but Congress is slow. It’s like pushing water up hill. The Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power has held two hearings on the bill -- one in 2015 and one this June. We want to get the bill out of committee and through the Senate – as part of a larger package of water bills. We have also seen progress on parts of the bill in other ways. First has been the annual appropriations process. This year I was able to extend authorization of the Emergency Drought Relief Act to 2022. And we increased the spending cap for water projects by $30 million. We expect it will pass later this year-- and provide flexible operations and planning authority for the whole Reclamation system when there is drought. We have also included important language and funding -- to help Reclamation with voluntary water leasing efforts in the Middle Rio Grande. This was one of the key pieces of our 2012 report. Voluntary water sharing helps compensate farmers for stream flows - and avoid more difficult issues with the Endangered Species Act. In addition, two water efficiency bills came out of our 2012 effort. And both were in an energy bill that passed the Senate last year. And both bills are very well positioned to move in any energy legislation again this year. One of the bills, the Smart Energy and Water Efficiency Act, addresses the energy-water nexus -- treating water as an expensive and energy intensive process. Leaks and breaks waste as much as 2 trillion gallons of purified drinking water each year. Water that takes a huge amount of energy—and money—to treat and pump. And then just goes into the ground. So our bill supports investment in information technology -- that can identify decreases in water pressure, and identify leaks and breaks immediately or even before they occur – to save water, energy and money. The second bill, the Water Efficiency Improvement Act, would make the EPA’s popular WaterSense program permanent. For those who don’t know, WaterSense is like the EnergyStar label but for water fixtures like faucets and sprinklers. Since 2006, WaterSense products saved more than 2.1 trillion gallons of water -- and more than $46.3 billion in consumer water and energy bills. Each dollar spent on this program saved consumers an estimated $1,100. My bipartisan bill would make WaterSense permanent. This legislation is especially needed now because the new Administration wants to eliminate WaterSense. We’ve also made progress on other proposals from the 2012 Conference Report, including: •Restarting annual funding to the Transboundary Aquifer Research -- which allows for collaboration and data exchange between Mexican and U.S. partners. •Funding from the Army Corps of Engineers for the Rio Grande Environmental Management Program -- to repay past commitments to New Mexico towns and cities for water infrastructure. •Giving acequias and other agricultural users access to additional U.S. Department of Agriculture funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program to help unique New Mexico water users update their historic irrigation systems. •Helping secure $150 million dollars over the last two years for the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. That program provides technical and financial help to support off-farm conservation projects. •Dedicating a portion of EPA water funding for “green infrastructure.” This uses natural hydrology designs to reduce runoff and contamination at lower costs than traditional—mostly concrete—projects. The Southern Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority completed a first of its kind project with this funding just last year. In 2012, the threat of climate change underpinned our conference report. Climate change still inform all we do in terms of water resource management. The first natural system affected by climate change is water. And that threat is here and now. We have seen this first-hand in New Mexico – severe droughts, decreased snow pack, flooding caused by uncharacteristically warm winters and springs, and catastrophic fires causing severe erosion and damaging surface water. Climate change impacts are being felt throughout the West. The time to adapt is now. The science of climate change should not be political. We must make our policy decisions based on the science – and our responsibility to future generations. You are a cohort of smart, technically savvy, and politically astute water experts. You can help think through the new round of challenges we have -- and work together to solve problems. The stakes are high. But as Margaret Mead famously said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” As your senator, my job is to help groups of thoughtful, committed citizens like you effect that change. So I returned to report on our progress—and I am seeking your feedback for future work. We are looking for cooperative ideas, not taking sides in conflicts. Rest assured -- we have plenty of conflict in Washington these days. I am also excited to hear about your success stories. Many of you have accomplished great things in the past five years, and learned a lot that you can share. The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Elephant Butte, our Tribes and Pueblos, acequia associations, our arroyo flood control authorities, water utilities and other state and local agencies are working hard on these issues every day. As are conservation groups and academic organizations. Thank you all. So, my staff and I look forward to your insight and expertise today and tomorrow -- and to working together to make our state’s water supplies more secure for our children and grandchildren. I have some time for questions, if you would like, before our next presentation.
Friday, July 28, 2017
Legislation aimed at ending horse slaughter Ruidoso News ASPCA Last week, members of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of a ban on slaughtering horses for human consumption on American soil. The bipartisan amendment to the Fiscal Year 2018 agriculture appropriations bill disallows spending by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in that year on inspections at prospective horse slaughter plants. Officials with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, known by the acronym ASPCA, commended the Senate appropriation committee members for passing an anti-horse slaughter amendment in its FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill. The amendment will prevent the USDA from using taxpayer dollars to inspect horse slaughter facilities. The Udall-Graham Amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Udall, Democrat from New Mexico. and Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina, was passed in the full committee by a bipartisan vote and would effectively continue a ban on the horse slaughter industry on U.S. soil.
Statement of Secretary Perdue Regarding Japan's Planned Increase of Tariff on U.S. Frozen Beef WASHINGTON, July 28, 2017 – The government of Japan has announced that rising imports of frozen beef in the first quarter of the Japanese fiscal year (April-June) have triggered a safeguard, resulting in an automatic increase to Japan's tariff rate under the WTO on imports of frozen beef from the United States. The increase, from 38.5 percent to 50 percent, will begin August 1, 2017 and last through March 31, 2018. The tariff would affect only exporters from countries, including the United States, which do not have free trade agreements with Japan currently in force. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement: “I am concerned that an increase in Japan's tariff on frozen beef imports will impede U.S. beef sales and is likely to increase the United States’ overall trade deficit with Japan. This would harm our important bilateral trade relationship with Japan on agricultural products. It would also negatively affect Japanese consumers by raising prices and limiting their access to high-quality U.S. frozen beef. I have asked representatives of the Japanese government directly and clearly to make every effort to address these strong concerns, and the harm that could result to both American producers and Japanese consumers.” U.S. exports of beef and beef products to Japan totaled $1.5 billion last year, making it the United States’ top market.
Friday, July 21, 2017
Deadline: July 26, 2017 NM WRRI’s 62nd Annual New Mexico Water Conference invites poster abstracts on any water research or water management topic. The poster session will take place on Wednesday, August 16, 10:00-11:30 am, New Mexico Tech. Click here for details.
Thursday, July 20, 2017
Respond to this post by replying above this line New post on La Jicarita Aamodt Final Judgment and Decree Signed Despite TOW Outstanding Protest by lajicarita By KAY MATTHEWS On Thursday, July 13, the day before U.S. District Judge William P. Johnson was scheduled to sign the Aamodt Final Judgment and Decree, Taos County Manager Leandro Córdova called to tell me that Taos County contract attorney Peter Shoenfeld had been authorized to submit a Motion for Leave to Appear in a Limited Manner at the signing. The motion sought to bring to the court's attention that provisions of the Aamodt Settlement Act require that before any final judgment can be issued the State Engineer must grant a permit for the Top of the World water rights, located in northern Taos County, to a location that will serve the four pueblos in the Aamodt adjudication—Pojoaque, Tesuque, Nambe, and San Ildefonso—and the proposed Pojoaque Valley Regional Water System. That permit has not been granted: the State Engineer has not rendered a decision in Taos County's protest of the TOW water transfer at a hearing before the Office of the State Engineer in October of 2016. Judge Johnson rejected the motion and signed the final judgment and decree, thus ending the more than 50-year-old Aamodt Adjudication. The Aamodt Adjudication Settlement Act that was signed in 2010 stipulates that in order to meet the terms of the settlement the water rights have to have been “acquired and entered into appropriate contracts” and “permits have been issued by the New Mexico State Engineer to the Regional Water Authority” and that “the permits shall be free of any condition that materially adversely affects the ability of the Pueblos or the Regional Water Authority to divert or use the Pueblo water supply . . . .” As I wrote in my previous La Jicarita article, "Judge Set to Sign Aamodt Adjudication Final Decree When Top of the World Water Rights are Still Contested?", none of the attorneys who represent parties to the adjudication were able to explain to me how the Final Decree could be signed in light of these requirements. John Utton, who is the attorney for Santa Fe County, could or would not answer my question, yet he is the attorney who signed the "Notice of Certification by Santa Fe County and City of Santa Fe of Satisfactions of Conditions", or in other words, that the conditions of the Aamodt Settlement Act have been met "for entry of a Final Decree." Arianne Singer, who represents the state in the adjudication, signed off and has never returned my phone calls. The U.S. Attorney signed off as well as did all the attorneys for the pueblos. Although this Final Judgment and Decree also denies all other objections, parties to the adjudication can appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Three hundred non-pueblo water rights owners, many of whom never wanted implementation of a water delivery system in lieu of their wells, filed objections to the adjudication. Some objectors have already retained attorneys with the Western Agriculture, Resource and Business Advocates, who also represent members of Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water, and Rights (NNMProtects) in the controversy between the pueblos and county residents over access and easement rights on county roads that fall within the exterior boundaries of the four pueblos involved in the Aamodt Settlement—Tesuque, Nambe, Pojoaque, and San Ildefonso. In 2015 the Santa Fe County Commission passed Resolution 2015-25, which requires that the legal status of the county roads be resolved before the commission appropriates funding for the regional water system. The water system must be completed by 2024 under the terms of the Settlement or the Decree will be null and void. NNMProtects attorneys were prevented from attending a closed door meeting between the Santa Fe County Commission and representatives of federal agencies and the pueblos on Thursday, July 13 to discuss the road easement controversy. So was Rep. Carl Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, whose district covers part of northern Santa Fe County. So we have two situations in which the parties substantively affected by the terms of the Aamodt Settlement are denied recourse: the citizens of Taos County are denied due process in their protest of the loss of 1,751 acre feet of water from Top of the World and the citizens of the Pojoaque Valley are excluded from meetings that will determine funding for a regional water system that many of them never wanted. While the Aamodt objectors have the opportunity to file an appeal, it will prove costly and decidedly difficult to contest a Final Decree that is being gleefully celebrated by those who benefit from its terms. It seems highly unlikely that Taos County will file an appeal if the State Engineer approves the TOW transfer; the integrity of the protest has already been negated with the issuance of the Final Decree. lajicarita | July 17, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Tags: Aamodt Adjudication Settlement, Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Top of the World (TOW) | Categories: Acequias, Groundwater, Law and Courts, New Mexico, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Santa Fe County, Taos County, Water Adjudication, water and acequias | URL: http://wp.me/p2bCkq-1Jj Comment See all comments Unsubscribe to no longer receive posts from La Jicarita. Change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions. Trouble clicking? Copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://lajicarita.wordpress.com/2017/07/17/aamodt-final-judgment-and-decree-signed-despite-tow-outstanding-protest/
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The 62nd NM WRRI Annual New Mexico Water Conference will take place in Socorro, New Mexico on August 15-16, 2017
The 62nd NM WRRI Annual New Mexico Water Conference will take place in Socorro, New Mexico on August 15-16, 2017 with the theme Hidden Realities of New Water Opportunities. A highlight of each year’s annual water conference is a poster session where participants can learn about current water research taking place around the state and region. The poster session, scheduled for Wednesday, August 16, offers a wonderful opportunity for networking with state and regional water experts. We anticipate about 200 attendees at this year's conference. This Call for Poster Abstracts seeks abstracts for posters on any water research or management topic. We encourage interested students, researchers, and practitioners to submit poster abstracts via the online submission process. Abstracts for consideration for posters will be accepted through July 26, 2017. Notification of poster acceptance will be announced by July 31, 2017.