Monday, December 11, 2017
Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties. New Mexico State University researchers are studying produced water quality spatial variability and analyzing alternative-source water in the Permian Basin. This site map shows the study area in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. (Image courtesy Kenneth “KC” Carroll) New Mexico State University researchers are studying produced water quality spatial variability and analyzing alternative-source water in the Permian Basin in Southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. This map shows the location of sample points in the three geo-structural regions of the Permian Basin. (Image courtesy Kenneth “KC” Carroll) Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year. One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water. Robert Sabie Jr., a geographic information systems analyst for NM WRRI, said this cost-effective solution would allow freshwater to be reserved for drinking water. “The focus of the project was to understand the opportunities for reusing treated produced water, both in and out of the oil and gas industry, in order to preserve the freshwater aquifers. Different water uses require different levels of treatment to attain an appropriate water quality. If the produced water is reused within the oil and gas industry, or for other uses with lower water quality standards, then we can use the cleaner, fresh aquifer water for drinking,” Sabie said. Kenneth “KC” Carroll, an associate professor of water resource management in the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, said the oil and gas industry in West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico produces large amounts of water. “One of the things we found is that the water produced with oil and gas can be up to 10 times the volume of oil and gas,” Carroll said. “It could be one-to-one, and sometimes no water is produced, but sometimes it’s a lot more.” With water shortages in the southeastern part of the state, it’s important that researchers identify alternatives to purchasing fresh water from farmers and to reinjecting produced water into the subsurface as a wastewater. “Southeastern New Mexico is an area that has water shortage issues and a threatened viability of agriculture,” Carroll said. “Although produced water is a wastewater, it is a large source of available water in a region where water scarcity is impacting agriculture.” Sabie said treatment technology is improving and it is becoming more common for the oil and gas industry to reuse its produced water. It behooves the industry to do so, as there are high costs associated with transporting, treating and injecting the water into designated injection wells. By reusing their own produced water, companies are able to use less costly and semi-mobile regulated treatment plants closer to the oil and gas extraction areas. Sabie was the project manager for the feasibility study, and NM WRRI Director Sam Fernald was the principal investigator. NMSU collaborators included Carroll, as well as Pei Xu, an associate professor of environmental engineering in the NMSU Department of Civil Engineering. “I’m interested in the environmental engineering aspects of produced water,” Xu said. “We need to find an engineering solution to solve the problem. Produced water is such an important topic for the industry, engineering, municipalities and regulatory agencies. The goal is to treat the water.” Xu said the feasibility study was made up of a large team, with each person working on a different aspect of the research. “My job was to investigate the treatment technologies and the cost to treat the water,” she said. “This is an ongoing project. Right now I’m working Dr. Yanyan Zhang, and we are evaluating the environmental toxicity of the produced water and the level of treatment needed to reduce the toxicity of that water. Our goal is to ensure the safe reuse of that produced water.” Carroll’s contributions included looking into how the hydrogeologic or geologic formation variability – how deep and which rocks the water comes from – will affect the produced water quality. He also researched the spatial variability of the produced water quality. “We mapped the salinity of the produced water across most of the Permian Basin at various depths,” Carroll said. “We found that not all produced waters are the same. Water in some areas can have salinity as low as approximately 10 grams per liter, but produced water salinity in some areas can be higher than 350 grams per liter. And seawater average salinity is approximately 35 grams per liter.” Carroll took the lead on studying the produced water geochemistry, which is the chemical composition of water in the Permian Basin formations that is being pumped to the surface. “In addition to salinity variations, we found quite a bit of variability in the type of salts dissolved in the waters,” he said. “We also discovered that a significant amount of water migrated deep into the Basin from the land surface, which enhances our understanding of the water flow behavior in deep subsurface basins like the Permian.” More details about the project can be found at https://nmwrri.nmsu.edu/produced-water/ The feasibility study resulted in several accomplishments. “Our biggest accomplishment was establishing a clearer picture on the regulatory framework,” Sabie said. “There are three state agencies in charge of regulating water – the Office of the State Engineer, the New Mexico Environment Department and the Oil Conservation Division. So, we got those agencies together and developed hypothetical use cases for produced water to characterize the ownership, jurisdiction agency for New Mexico, holder of liability, and permitting requirements.” The feasibility study also included researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and New Mexico Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department. Funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency through the New Mexico Environment Department.
Please save the date for EPA Region 6's 20th Annual Stormwater Conference, to be held in Albuquerque on August 19-23, 2018. This conference is open to all who are interested in stormwater management, including practitioners under EPA's Construction General Permit, Multi Sector General Permit for Industrial Stormwater Discharges, and entities permitted under EPA's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits. The formal Save the Date invitation can be viewed here: http://tamuk-isee.com/conferences/epa2018conference/. Conference information will be updated as the agenda is finalized. For additional questions about the conference, you may contact Nelly Smith with EPA Region 6 at (214) 665-7109 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Denise Hornsby with Texas A&M University-Kingsville at (361) 593-3046 (email@example.com). Point Source Regulation Section Sarah Holcomb (505) 827-2798
Wednesday, November 22, 2017
State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future In partnership with the Interstate Stream Commission, New Mexico First will convene a two-day town hall deliberation to inform the update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. This event will bring together people from around the state to generate suggestions for the ISC. The town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. 13-DEC-2017 - 14-DEC-2017 Albuquerque More information and registration at: http://nmfirst.org/event-details/state-water-planning-town-hall-advancing-new-mexico-s-water-future
Udall, Heinrich Introduce Legislation to Help Acequias and Land Grants Better Access Federal Conservation Programs
Udall, Heinrich Introduce Legislation to Help Acequias and Land Grants Better Access Federal Conservation Programs WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Tom Udall introduced a bill to help acequias and land grants in New Mexico access additional federal resources for water and resource conservation projects. The bill, Providing Land Grants and Acequias Conservation and Environmental Services (PLACES) Act of 2017, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, will allow acequias and land grants access to federal programs that provide funding and technical assistance to farmers to increase agricultural water efficiency and further conservation of soil, water and other natural resources. Udall and Heinrich have been long been working to help New Mexico's traditional communities access federal programs and funding for water and resource conservation projects. In 2014, the New Mexico delegation included a provision in the Farm Bill to allow irrigation associations, including acequias and land grants, to access Natural Resources Conservation Services’ (NRCS) grants through a partnership with the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). It has been one of the most successful partnerships in the country, giving New Mexico farmers access to programs that help them implement conservation practices on their farms to conserve water, protect soil and assure that farmers have the tools needed to remain productive in the future. Udall's new bill will build on this success and allow acequias and land grants to apply directly for federal programs, including EQIP, which provides funding and technical assistance to farmers, and the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, which helps producers by improving off farm infrastructure to reduce soil erosion, enhance water supply and quality, increase wildlife habitat, and reduce damages from natural disasters. "New Mexico's traditional communities have long been good stewards of our land and have been an integral part of our state's water infrastructure since before statehood. These communities hold great historical and cultural significance in New Mexico," Udall said. "Water is critical to our economy and our ability to grow, but water scarcity is a real challenge in New Mexico. Finding solutions that make the most out of every drop — sometimes even twice — is a necessity. Through New Mexico's traditional communities, our ancestors have been managing New Mexico's water and land efficiently for generations, and we should be doing everything we can to support them, including giving them full access to the programs within the USDA. This bill will continue expanding access to federal programs to ensure that acequias and land grants have the tools they need to help New Mexico's farmers and ranchers make the most of every natural resource." “Our way of life in New Mexico depends on the health of our land and water. New Mexico’s acequia associations and land grants should be able to access important federal water and land conservation programs and resources just like any other irrigation districts,” said Heinrich. “I am proud to support this legislation to ensure New Mexico communities have the resources they need to make long-term resource plans on a landscape scale and conserve our vital natural resources for future generations.” The bill text is available here and a summary of the bill is available here. The legislation is supported by the New Mexico Acequia Commission, New Mexico Acequia Association, and the New Mexico Land Grant Council. “Acequias are the life-line of the cultural traditions, heritage and the economic base of New Mexico. Through acequias, our ancestors’ managed our water effectively, efficiently and fairly to provide a sustainable means to take care of their families for centuries," said Ralph Vigil, chairman of the New Mexico Acequia Commission. "This legislation will provide the acequias a much-needed tool to continue building economic sustainability in farming and ranching for our acequia communities.” “We greatly appreciate the work of our congressional delegation to improve acequia eligibility for conservation programs,” said Paula Garcia, executive director of the New Mexico Acequia Association. “Investment in agriculture will expand the availability of locally grown food and support the livelihood of farmers and ranchers in New Mexico’s acequia communities.” “Land grant communities are part of the unique cultural and agricultural heritage of New Mexico. Land grant governing bodies have managed their common lands for the benefit of their local communities for centuries," said Juan Sanchez, chairman of the New Mexico Land Grant Council. "Making community land grants eligible for programs like EQIP provides access to important resources that will further conservation and restoration efforts on land grant common lands, as well as generate new community and economic development opportunities. These activities will positively impact the socio-economic and ecological health of rural communities throughout New Mexico, and will provide lasting benefits for future generations.” ### Contacts: Jennifer Talhelm (Udall) 202.228.6870 / Whitney Potter (Heinrich) 202.228.1578
Monday, November 20, 2017
LAS CRUCES - Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties. Faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water last year. Produced water is underground water brought to the surface during the drilling process. Treating of disposing of produced water creates an additional expense for oil companies. One of the most relevant findings from the study is that the most feasible use of produced water generated from the oil and gas industry is for that industry to reuse its own produced water, as opposed to using fresh water. Robert Sabie Jr., a geographic information systems analyst for NM WRRI, said this cost-effective solution would allow freshwater to be reserved for drinking water.
NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, SURFACE WATER QUALITY BUREAU PROPOSES THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (TMDL) FOR CHRONIC DISSOLVED ALUMINUM FOR WHITEWATER CREEK, RIO CHAMITA, AND RIO PUERCO
________________________________________ NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT DEPARTMENT, SURFACE WATER QUALITY BUREAU PROPOSES THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE TOTAL MAXIMUM DAILY LOADS (TMDL) FOR CHRONIC DISSOLVED ALUMINUM FOR WHITEWATER CREEK, RIO CHAMITA, AND RIO PUERCO. NOTICE OF A 30-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD AND COMMUNITY MEETINGS The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) invites the public to comment on three draft documents concerning the withdrawal of previously-approved Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) documents for chronic dissolved aluminum in Whitewater Creek, Rio Chamita, and Rio Puerco. These requests for TMDL withdrawal are necessary because the dissolved aluminum standard previously codified at 126.96.36.1990 NMAC no longer applies. In addition, the latest survey data indicate the applicable total recoverable aluminum standard is supported. The 30-day comment period on these documents will open November 20, 2017 and will close December 22, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. MST. Electronic copies of the draft documents are available at: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/. Comments for inclusion in the administrative record must be submitted in writing (email preferred) to Diana.Aranda@state.nm.us; Diana Aranda, NMED SWQB, P.O. Box 5469, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502; or fax number (505) 827-0160. For additional questions regarding this public notice or if you have trouble accessing the above web address, contact Ms. Aranda at (505) 827-0669 or at the above email address. Community meetings will be held to summarize the proposed TMDL withdrawals and to provide a discussion forum for the public. The meeting details are: Whitewater Creek: November 29, 2017; 4:30-6:30 p.m.; NMED Silver City Office, 3082 32nd Street Bypass, Suite D, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061. Rio Puerco: December 4, 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Cuba Senior Center, 16-A Cordova St., Cuba New Mexico, 87013. Rio Chamita: December 13, 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Chama Village Hall, 299 West 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520. Following the close of the comment period, copies of the respective Response to Comments will be sent to all persons who submitted written comments posted to the bureau’s website. The SWQB plans to request approval of the final TMDLs at the Water Quality Control Commission’s (WQCC) regularly scheduled meeting on March 13, 2018, or at the next available meeting. WQCC agendas are available at: https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc/. Persons having a disability and needing help in being a part of this process should contact NMED, Human Resources Bureau, at least 10 days before the event, telephone 505-827-0424 or P.O. Box 5469, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87502. TDY users please access his number via the New Mexico Relay Network at 1-800-659-8331. ______________________________________________________________________________ LA OFICINA DE CALIDAD DE AGUAS SUPERFICIALES DEL DEPARTAMENTO DEL MEDIO AMBIENTE PROPONE RETIRAR LAS CARGAS MÁXIMAS TOTALES DIARIAS (TMDL, SIGLAS EN INGLÉS) DE ALUMINIO DISUELTO CRÓNICO EN EL ARROYO WHITEWATER, EL RÍO CHAMITA Y EL RÍO PUERCO La Oficina de Calidad de Aguas Superficiales (SWQB, siglas en inglés) del Departamento del Medio Ambiente (NMED, siglas en inglés) invita al público a ofrecer sus comentarios sobre tres documentos preliminares en torno al retiro de documentos relacionados con la Carga Máxima Total Diaria (TMDL) previamente aprobados de aluminio disuelto crónico en el Arroyo Whitewater, el Río Chamita y el Río Puerco. Estas peticiones sobre el retiro de la TMDL son necesarias porque el estándar de aluminio disuelto previamente codificado en el 188.8.131.520 NMAC ya no se aplica. Asimismo, los datos más recientes de la inspección indican que el estándar de aluminio recuperable total aplicable es compatible. El periodo de 30 días para ofrecer comentarios sobre estos documentos se abrirá el 20 de noviembre de 2017 y se cerrará el 22 de diciembre de 2017 a las 4:00 p.m. hora de las montañas (MST). Copias electrónicas de los documentos preliminares están disponibles en: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/. Los comentarios a incluir en el registro administrativo deben ser enviados por escrito (de preferencia por correo electrónico) a Diana.Aranda@state.nm.us; Diana Aranda, NMED SWQB, P.O. Box 5469, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502; o por fax al (505) 827-0160. Si tiene preguntas adicionales sobre este aviso público o si tiene problemas al tratar de acceder al sitio web arriba mencionado, comuníquese con la Srta. Aranda al (505) 827-0669 o al correo electrónico arriba mencionado. Las reuniones con la comunidad se llevarán a cabo para resumir el retiro propuesto de la TMDL y para proporcionar un foro público para conversar. Los detalles sobre las reuniones son los siguientes: Arroyo Whitewater: 29 de noviembre de 2017; 4:30-6:30 p.m.; NMED Silver City Office, 3082 32nd Street Bypass, Suite D, Silver City, New Mexico, 88061. Río Puerco: 4 de diciembre de 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Cuba Senior Center, 16-A Cordova St., Cuba New Mexico, 87013. Río Chamita: 13 de diciembre de 2017; 3:00-5:00 pm; Chama Village Hall, 299 West 4th Street, Chama, New Mexico 87520. Después del cierre del periodo de comentarios, se enviarán copias de las respectivas respuestas de los comentarios a todas las personas que enviaron comentarios escritos que se hayan publicado en el sitio web de la oficina. La SWQB tiene planeado solicitar la aprobación de las TMDL finales en la reunión regular de la Comisión del Control de Calidad del Agua (WQCC, siglas en inglés) programada para el 13 de marzo de 2018, o en la siguiente reunión que se programe. Las agendas de la WQCC están disponibles en: https://www.env.nm.gov/water-quality-control-commission/wqcc/. Las personas que tengan una discapacidad o que necesiten ayuda para tomar parte en este proceso público deberán comunicarse por lo menos 10 días antes del evento con la Oficina de Recursos Humanos de NMED en P.O. Box 5469, 1190 St. Francis Drive, Santa Fe, Nuevo México, 87502, teléfono 505-827-9769. Se les pide a los usuarios de TDY que se comuniquen con la Oficina de Recursos Humanos a través de la Red de Difusión de Nuevo México llamando al 1-800-659-8331. ________________________________________ NMED does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age or sex in the administration of its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. NMED is responsible for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning non-discrimination requirements implemented by 40 C.F.R. Part 7, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. If you have any questions about this notice or any of NMED’s non-discrimination programs, policies or procedures, you may contact: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 firstname.lastname@example.org If you believe that you have been discriminated against with respect to a NMED program or activity, you may contact the Non-Discrimination Coordinator identified above or visit our website at https://www.env.nm.gov/non-employee-discrimination-complaint-page/ to learn how and where to file a complaint of discrimination. El Departamento del Medio Ambiente de Nuevo México (NMED, por su sigla en inglés) no discrimina por motivos de raza, color, origen nacional, discapacidad, edad o sexo en la administración de sus programas o actividades, según lo exigido por las leyes y los reglamentos correspondientes. El NMED es responsable de la coordinación de esfuerzos para el cumplimiento de las reglas y la recepción de indagaciones relativas a los requisitos de no discriminación implementados por 40 C.F.R. Parte 7, que incluye el Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964, como fuera enmendado; la Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973; la Ley de Discriminación por Edad de 1975; el Título IX de las Enmiendas de Educación de 1972; y la Sección 13 de las Enmiendas a la Ley Federal de Control de la Contaminación del Agua de 1972. Si tiene preguntas sobre este aviso o sobre cualquier programa de no discriminación, norma o procedimiento de NMED, puede comunicarse con la Coordinadora de No Discriminación: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 email@example.com Si piensa que ha sido discriminado con respecto a un programa o actividad de NMED, puede comunicarse con la Coordinadora de No Discriminación antes indicada o visitar nuestro sitio web en https://www.env.nm.gov/NMED/EJ/index.html para saber cómo y dónde presentar una queja por discriminación.
Friday, November 10, 2017
Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up today for a two-day deliberative town hall to inform the next State Water Plan! This document is the primary policy guide for New Mexico’s water policy. As part of public engagement on the update of the plan, the upcoming town hall will be held December 13-14 in Albuquerque. Participants will engage in discussions on water issues and offer suggestions advising the Interstate Stream of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Registration opens for the State Water Planning Town Hall: Advancing New Mexico’s Water Future Are you interested in New Mexico’s water future? Sign up now for a two-day deliberative town hall to discuss a comprehensive update of the New Mexico State Water Plan. The State Water Plan is a critical guide for New Mexico’s water policy. The ideas offered through this town hall will advise the Interstate Stream Commission (in collaboration with the Office of the State Engineer and the Water Trust Board) of significant changed conditions facing New Mexico’s water future. Sponsored by the ISC and managed by New Mexico First, the town hall will focus primarily on supply and demand, water quality, infrastructure, legal issues, water planning and collaboration, and changing conditions. Sign-up today!
Monday, October 23, 2017
Horizontal drilling and upsized completions have fast-forwarded the oil and gas industry’s demand for water. At the same time, the lower for longer oil price recovery has placed ever more pressure on operators to cut costs, including for water, according to a new report, “Water for U.S. Hydraulic Fracturing,” from Bluefield Research. The report forecasts that at a flat rig count of 650, 20.8 billion barrels (bbl) of water will be required for hydraulic fracturing from 2017 through 2026. Last year, fracturing consumed more than 1.3 billion bbl of water and produced 574 million bbl of water for disposal. Investors and industry players are positioning to play a role in this growing water market. With operators drilling faster, and employing longer laterals, completions now require as much as 12 million bbl of water per frack—triple the volumes of five years ago, the Bluefield authors said. They project that water management, including water supply, transport, storage, treatment and disposal, will total $136 billion from 2017 to 2026 for the U.S. hydraulic fracturing sector. High reuse rates in the Marcellus and scaling Permian activity—where water per frack ratios are the highest—drove treatment spending to about $198 million in 2016 with an annual spend of $307 million expected for 2017. “Demand is rising exponentially, particularly in West Texas,” the authors said, “because of increased water volume per frack and an almost 30% reduction in time required to complete a well.” With water transport, both supplied and produced, rising in importance, the industry craves more pipeline networks and transport services, and a new midstream water sector is developing in response. “Several firms—Antero Midstream, Noble Midstream, Rice Midstream, NGL Energy—are leveraging their holding companies’ E&P footprints,” the report said. “At the same time, a new crop of market entrants, often backed by private equity, are staking out positions in select basins to capitalize on demand for water services.” The water company rolls have been diminished by the downturn, but a “select few” are rising from the ashes, according to Bluefield’s report. “Select Energy Services has filed an IPO, Nuverra remains on the edge of Chapter 11, while Fountain Quail and GreenHunter Resources have merged.” Texas and Oklahoma led the U.S. completed horizontal well count from 2011 to 2017, making them the most active markets for hydraulic fracturing and water demand. Bluefield excluded DUCs (drilled but uncompleted wells) from its forecasts; at the end of March 2017, 5,512 DUCs remained, according to DOE estimates. In Texas, oil prices, financial stress and rain have “eased the regulatory pressures in some instances,” the report said, making cost of transport the top concern. Some producers are tapping alternative supplies to enhance sustainability. In Oklahoma, earthquake concerns due to salt water disposal practices are fueling recycling efforts. Annual water demand by basin is led by the Permian, with 45% overall, the Eagle Ford, 12%, the Marcellus, 12%, the Cana Woodford, 8%, and the Haynesville, with 8%. In basins with plentiful access to saltwater disposal wells, like those in Texas and Oklahoma, treatment and reuse remains below 10%. Pennsylvania and Ohio, which have limited disposal well options and more challenging topography, have seen transportation and disposal costs rise as high as $20/bbl, according to Bluefield. This has prompted E&Ps to buy injection well assets, and another “key area of investment” has been the networking of disposal wells with pipelines across shale plays. E&Ps are investing in projects connected to wastewater plants, water recycling facilities and pipeline transport. As this still nascent water management and services value chain evolves, Bluefield is tracking several trends in particular: private water utilities leveraging their local presence; pure-play water service providers focusing on transport logistics, treatment and disposal; companies providing centralized treatment in the Marcellus; and increasingly, midstream energy service providers moving into water markets, often by leveraging their related E&P divisions. In other instances, private equity firms are backing midstream entities focused on the water value chain, with some carving out niches in individual basins. With only 6% of produced water currently being treated and reused, Bluefield projects this share will rise to 16% by 2026. Recycling of flowback water should hit 90% by the same period. And the dollars needed to fund this effort will continue to seed opportunity for investors. Susan Klann Susan Klann has more than 30 years of publishing experience, with more than half of those spent in oil and gas publishing with Hart Energy, most recently as group managing editor of Oil and Gas Investor. See full bio
Permian Basin Produced Water May Hit 1B Barrels Per Day Experts say produced water from the Permian Basin may hit 1 billion barrels per day within the next decade. July 4, 2017, at 10:53 a.m.
HOBBS, N.M. (AP) — Experts say produced water from the Permian Basin may hit 1 billion barrels per day within the next decade. The Hobbs News-Sun reports (https://goo.gl/zJXnaA ) New Mexico EnergyPlex Conference panelist Nathan Zaugg told attendees last week that the billion barrels per day estimate could fill Elephant Butte Lake in around 21 days. Produced water also contains heavy metals including zinc, lead, manganese, iron and barium. Zaugg, industrial group leader for Carollo Engineers of Salt Lake City, said his company and a New Mexico company are working together to address the problem with urgency. Ken McQueen, secretary for the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, says companies now know the importance of recycling water, realizing brackish water as a source rather than using fresh water.
PECAN WEEVIL REGULATION DISCUSSION New Mexico Department of Agriculture and Eddy, Chaves and Lea County Extension Service will be conducting a discussion with Pecan growers and related industry business owner on October 26: Roswell 9:30 am Farm Bureau building Eastern Fair grounds. Artesia CVE 1:30 pm community room 13th and Richey street Carlsbad Eddy County Extension Office 6:30 pm 1304 West Stevens The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the current situation with Pecan weevil in New Mexico and proposed emergency regulations to contain this pest. There is limited space so if you wish to pre-register or if you are in need of special assistance due to a disability please contact the Eddy County Extension Office 887-6595 at least 1 day before the class. This and all programs are available to everyone regardless of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, or veteran status. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating “to put knowledge to work”.
Friday, October 20, 2017
One sorrel mare with star, small snip and left front sock. The livestock was/were found at: Kevil and Haston Road south of Carlsbad
The Following Found Livestock Notice Has Been Posted on the NMLB Website: NOTICE ID 2960 - 10/20/2017 The following described livestock was/were found by the NMLB without ownership being known: - Carlsbad, NM 88220 Brand(s) described on livestock: No Brand Please Contact Inspector Kenneth Whetham at 575-840-5374 if you have information regarding ownership of the described livestock. NOTICE EXPIRATION DATE: 10/25/2017 Livestock are being held in Eddy County DOCUMENTS AND/OR IMAGES: Notice ID 2960 Pic 1.JPG Notice ID 2960 Pic 2.JPG Notice ID 2960 Pic 3.JPG If you did not sign up for this mailing list or would like to be taken off of the list Click Here and your email address will be removed from our list.
________________________________________ VILLAGE OF RUIDOSO AND CITY OF RUIDOSO DOWNS REGIONAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT JOINT USE BOARD PROPOSES WATER QUALITY STANDARDS CHANGES FOR THE LOWER RIO RUIDOSO AND UPPER RIO HONDO IN LINCOLN COUNTY, NEW MEXICO NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED TO DECEMBER 19, 2017 The Village of Ruidoso and City of Ruidoso Downs Regional Wastewater Treatment Plan Joint Use Board (JUB) invites the public to comment on the draft Use Attainability Analysis (UAA) and proposed amendments to the surface water quality standards (20.6.4. NMAC) for the lower Rio Ruidoso and upper Rio Hondo in Lincoln County, New Mexico. As required by the federal Clean Water Act and the New Mexico Water Quality Act, the state has established water quality standards for its surface waters. Water quality standards (WQS) identify the water quality goals for a water body, or portion thereof, by designating the use or uses of the water and by setting criteria that protect those designated uses. A UAA is a scientific study that assesses the factors affecting the attainment of a designated use. In accordance with 40 CFR 131 and 184.108.40.206 NMAC, the JUB, with technical assistance from Environmental Science Associates, has conducted a UAA for the lower Rio Ruidoso and upper Rio Hondo in Lincoln County. The draft UAA along with the proposed water quality standards amendment under 20.6.4 NMAC, are available on the New Mexico Environment Department, Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) website at https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/wqs/ The comment period for this proposal begins September 20, 2017 and has been extended to December 19, 2017 5:00 MST. Comments for inclusion in the public record must be submitted in writing to Jim Good at Environmental Science Associates, 5309 Shilshole Ave. NW, Suite 200, Seattle, WA, 98107; or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org For more information, please contact Jim Good at 505-697-9831 or email@example.com ________________________________________ NMED does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age or sex in the administration of its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. NMED is responsible for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning non-discrimination requirements implemented by 40 C.F.R. Part 7, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. If you have any questions about this notice or any of NMED’s non-discrimination programs, policies or procedures, you may contact: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 firstname.lastname@example.org If you believe that you have been discriminated against with respect to a NMED program or activity, you may contact the Non-Discrimination Coordinator identified above or visit our website at https://www.env.nm.gov/non-employee-discrimination-complaint-page/ to learn how and where to file a complaint of discrimination. ________________________________________ NM WATER QUALITY STANDARDS CONTACT: Jennifer Fullam 505-827-2637 https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/wqs/
Thursday, October 12, 2017
Monday, October 9, 2017
Optimizing Water Use to Sustain Food Systems Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project Website The challenges faced by Ogallala aquifer region producers are not confined by state lines. Neither are the solutions. Water. Whether it falls from the sky or is pumped from the Ogallala aquifer, is of central importance to the High Plains economy and way of life. Groundwater pumped from the Ogallala aquifer (the principal formation of the High Plains aquifer system) has transformed the region from a Dustbowl to an agricultural powerhouse. More than 30% of U.S. crops and livestock are produced in this region, significantly impacting domestic and international food supplies…The Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project, a multi-disciplinary collaborative effort funded by USDA-NIFA, is focused on developing and sharing practical, science-supported information relevant to best management practices for optimizing water use across the Ogallala region. MORE: http://ogallalawater.org/
Meeting informs public about water application El Defensor Chieftain By John Larson ...One question caught the co-facilitators off guard. “If this application from a multi-national company is approved, could [they] sell it to another multi-national company, say from Russia?” Besides questions, Myers read comments from the cards submitted. “This water appropriation should not happen...ranchers have senior water rights,” Socorro County rancher Randell Major commented. “This mining application has been unable to prove their pumping will not harm existing water rights. This has been going on for ten years and should be put to an end now.” More at; http://www.dchieftain.com/news/meeting-informs-public-about-water-application/article_12e769be-a946-11e7-9b0d-77c54c89c6b6.html
Friday, October 6, 2017
White sands Millitay and ranches LAS CRUCES - The dramatic history and transformation of White Sands Missile Range is the subject of this month’s Culture Series at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. “The Range: From Livestock to Missiles,” is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 in the museum’s theater. The focus is ranching in the Tularosa Basin and in the San Andres and Oscura mountain ranges and how the ranchers lost their land to America's military needs. The speaker is Jim Eckles, who spent 30 years working in the public affairs office at the missile range. Admission to the presentation is free. During his time on the range, Eckles saw the Space Shuttle Columbia land, followed the Noss treasure hunters into Victorio Peak, escorted dozens of ranch families to visit their old homes, experienced many ear-splitting explosions and missile launches, and has been to Trinity Site probably more than any other human being. Eckles grew up in Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska. He majored in psychology and English literature, and a master's degree followed at the University of Washington. Eckles, who is on the White Sands Missile Range Historical Foundation board of directors, has published three books: "Pocketful of Rockets," "Trinity: The History of An Atomic Bomb National Landmark," and "Deming New Mexico's Camp Cody: A World War One Training Camp."
Are you interested in New Mexico’s Water Future? Save the dates of December 13th-14th for an important town hall on the 2018 State Water Plan. As many of you know, the state water plan sets the policy agenda for water use in New Mexico. This upcoming town hall deliberation provides the primary opportunity for the public to develop policy priorities for the plan. The town hall will take place in Albuquerque. Registration will open by November 2017.
Friday, October 6, 2017 Happy National 4-H Week Opportunity to Share Your Thoughts on Positive Youth Development and other NIFA Supported Programs USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture Needs Stakeholder Input on Food, Agriculture Priorities The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is accepting input from stakeholders regarding research, extension, and education priorities in food and agriculture. A series of four in-person listening sessions hosted in different regions across the country and submission of written comments will offer two ways to share your thoughts and ideas. Stakeholder input received from both methods will be treated equally. NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives” focuses on answering to two questions from stakeholders: • What is your top priority in food and agricultural research, extension, or education that NIFA should address? • What are the most promising science opportunities for advancement of food and agricultural sciences? NIFA wants to hear from you about priorities and opportunities in agricultural sciences. This will help NIFA prioritize science emphasis areas, identify gaps in programming, and determine which programs are redundant or underperforming. To contribute your ideas online and to register for in-person listening sessions, fill out our input form. You have the option to give a five minute oral presentation and submit written content; however, it is not required to do both. • Individuals wishing to attend in-person listening sessions must complete the RSVP in the input form no later than Thursday, October 12, 2017. If you are making a five minute oral presentation, you must submit a short 250 word abstract describing your topic. • Submissions of written comments will be accepted through Friday, December 1, 2017. The input form is one opportunity to share written comments. Please take time to consider and clearly form your answers to the questions above before filling out the form. You will be allowed 600 words for each question. You may also submit written comments via NIFAlistens@nifa.usda.gov. Four regional in-person listening sessions will be held: • Thursday, Oct. 19, Kansas City, Missouri • Thursday, Oct. 26, Atlanta, Georgia • Thursday, Nov. 2, Sacramento, California • Wednesday, Nov. 8, Hyattsville, Maryland Each session is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. and end no later than 5 p.m. The sessions will be webcast live, transcribed, and made available for playback. All submissions, regardless of the mode, are processed in the same manner. Additional details, including livestream information, will be added as they become available. To stay informed on “NIFA Listens: Investing in Science to Transform Lives,” sign up for the NIFA Update, a weekly compendium of news and information that may be of interest to land-grant and non-land-grant universities, NIFA stakeholders, and other subscribers.
LAS CRUCES - The dramatic history and transformation of White Sands Missile Range is the subject of this month’s Culture Series at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. “The Range: From Livestock to Missiles,” is set for 7 p.m. on Oct. 12 in the museum’s theater. The focus is ranching in the Tularosa Basin and in the San Andres and Oscura mountain ranges and how the ranchers lost their land to America's military needs. The speaker is Jim Eckles, who spent 30 years working in the public affairs office at the missile range. Admission to the presentation is free. During his time on the range, Eckles saw the Space Shuttle Columbia land, followed the Noss treasure hunters into Victorio Peak, escorted dozens of ranch families to visit their old homes, experienced many ear-splitting explosions and missile launches, and has been to Trinity Site probably more than any other human being. Eckles grew up in Nebraska and attended the University of Nebraska. He majored in psychology and English literature, and a master's degree followed at the University of Washington. Eckles, who is on the White Sands Missile Range Historical Foundation board of directors, has published three books: "Pocketful of Rockets," "Trinity: The History of An Atomic Bomb National Landmark," and "Deming New Mexico's Camp Cody: A World War One Training Camp."
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
We have to change the dates for the “Wetlands Across Borders Workshop – Playas of the Southern High Plains.” Instead of starting on October 31 and running through November 3, 2017, the new dates are Tuesday, December 12 through Friday December 15. It is still at the Clovis Community College, in Clovis, New Mexico but starting Tuesday December 12 through Friday December 15, 2017. The meeting will consist of one and one half days of presentations and panel discussions about playa ecology, conservation, restoration and other important topics about playas. The meeting will be followed by three track options – New Mexico Rapid Assessment Method Training for Playa Wetlands, a Playas and Roads workshop, or a half-day field trip to look at local playas. We will be sending out more information, a draft agenda, and an invitation to sign up for the meeting and the track options soon. If you would like to be a presenter or bring a poster to the event, please let me know as the agenda will fill up fast. There is no cost to attend but for planning purposes and limited seating for the track options, you will have to register on-line through Evite as soon as we have it available. Note that Wetlands Across Borders Meetings are for participants from neighboring states as well as New Mexico. We will be reaching out to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado as well. If you know of anyone interested in playas, please pass on this information. Let me know if you have questions. Also, I want to thank those that attended the New Mexico Rapid Assessment Method Training for Playa Wetlands, conducted last week in Clovis New Mexico on September 27 through September 29, 2017. We appreciated your participation and helpful comments during the training. We got to experience playa wetlands first hand since two out of the three playas that we visited were inundated and it rained on day one and day two. Ducks were there enjoying the ponds and wetland vegetation. If you missed this opportunity, we will be providing the training again during the Wetlands Across Borders Workshop in December. Be there or be square! Thank you, Maryann
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
In Las Cruces at NMSU Jesus D. Gomez-Velez Assistant Professor of Hydrology Dept. of Earth & Environmental Science New Mexico Tech Phone: 575-835-5045 email@example.com https://gomezvelezlab.com The talk will be at September 27, 3:30am-4:30pm in Gerald Thomas Hall Room-336. The title of the talk will be “Leaky Pipes Everywhere! Understanding Connectivity Along River Corridors”
https://sandiegofreepress.org/2017/09/why-does-the-colorado-river-need-to-sue-for-rights/ San Diego Free Press By Will Falk On Tuesday, September 26, the Colorado River will sue the State of Colorado in a first-in-the-nation lawsuit requesting that the United States District Court in Denver recognize the river’s rights of nature. These rights include the rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve. To enforce these rights, the Colorado River will also request that the court grant the river “personhood” and standing to sue in American courts…Because our legal system currently defines nature as property, “resourcism” is institutionalized in American law. While climate change worsens, water continues to be polluted, and the collapse of every major ecosystem on the continent intensifies, we must conclude that our system of law fails to protect the natural world and fails to protect the human and nonhuman communities who depend on it. Jensen, while diagnosing widespread ecocide, observes a fundamental psychological principle: “We act according to the way we experience the world. We experience the world according to how we perceive it. We perceive it the way we have been taught.” Jensen quotes a Canadian lumberman who once said, “When I look at trees I see dollar bills.” The lumberman’s words represent the dominant culture’s view of the natural world. Jensen explains the psychology of this objectification, “If, when you look at trees you see dollar bills, you will act a certain way. If, when you look at trees, you see trees you will act a different way. If, when you look at this tree right here you see this tree right here, you will act differently still.” Law shapes our experience of the world. Currently, law teaches that nature is property, an object, or a resource to use. This entrenches a worldview that encourages environmental destruction. In other words, when law teaches us to see the Colorado River as dollar bills, as simple gallons of water, as an abstract percentage to be allocated, it is no wonder that corporations like Nestle can gain the right to run plastic bottling operations that drain anywhere from 250 million to 510 million gallons of Colorado River water per year. The American legal system can take a good step toward protecting us all – human and nonhuman alike – by granting ecosystems like the Colorado River rights and allowing communities to sue on these ecosystems’ behalf. When standing is recognized on behalf of ecosystems themselves, environmental law will reflect a conception of legal “causation” that is more friendly to the natural world than it is to the corporations destroying the natural world. At a time when the effects of technology are outpacing science’s capacity to research these effects, injured individuals and communities often have difficulty proving that corporate actions are the cause of their injuries. When ecosystems, like the Colorado River, are granted the rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve, the obsolete causation theory, en vogue, will be corrected. ************ American history is haunted by notorious failures to afford rights to those who always deserved them. Americans will forever shudder, for example, at Chief Justice Roger Taney’s words, when the Supreme Court, in 1857, ruled persons of African descent cannot be, nor were never intended to be, citizens under the Constitution in Dred Scott v. Sanford. Justice Taney wrote of African Americans, “They had for more than a century before been regarded as being of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race … and so far inferior, that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect…” And, of course, without rights that white, slave-owning men were bound to respect, the horrors of slavery continued. The most hopeful moments in American history, on the other hand, have occurred when the oppressed have demanded and were granted their rights in American courts. Despite centuries of treating African Americans as less than human while defining them as property, our system of law now gives the same rights to African Americans that American citizens have always enjoyed. Once property, African Americans are now persons under the law. Similarly, despite a centuries-old tradition where women were, in the legal sense, owned by men, our system of law now gives the same rights to women that American citizens have always enjoyed. Once property, women are now a person under the law. It’s tempting to describe this history as “inevitable progress” or as “the legal system correcting itself” or with some other congratulatory language. But, this glosses over the violent struggles it took for rights to be won. The truth is, and we see this clearly in Justice Taney’s words, the American legal system resisted justice until change was forced upon it. It took four centuries of genocide and the nation’s bloodiest civil war before our system of law recognized the rights of African Americans. While the courts resisted, African Americans were enslaved, exploited, and killed. Right now, the natural world is struggling violently for its survival. We watch hurricanes, exacerbated by human-induced climate change, rock coastal communities. We choke through wildfires, also exacerbated by human-induced climate change, sweeping across the West. We feel the Colorado River’s thirst as overdraw and drought dries it up. It is the time that American law stop resisting. Our system of law must change to reflect ecological reality. ************ Colorado River between Marble Canyon (Source: Alex Proimos/Flickr/CC-BY-NC-2.0) This is ecological reality: all life depends on clean water, breathable air, healthy soil, a habitable climate, and complex relationships formed by living creatures in natural communities. Water is life and in the arid American Southwest, no natural community is more responsible for the facilitation of life than the Colorado River. Because so much life depends on her, the needs of the Colorado River are primary. Social morality must emerge from a humble understanding of this reality. Law is integral to any society’s morality, so law must emerge from this understanding, too. Human language lacks the complexity to adequately describe the Colorado River and any attempt to account for the sheer amount of life she supports will necessarily be arbitrary. Nevertheless, many creatures of feather, fin, and fur rely on the Colorado River. Iconic, and endangered or threatened, birds like the bald eagle, greater sage grouse, Gunnison sage grouse, peregrine falcon, yellow-billed cuckoo, summer tanager, and southwestern willow flycatcher make their homes in the Colorado River watershed. Fourteen endemic fish species swim the river’s currents including four fish that are now endangered: the humpback chub, Colorado pikeminnow, razorback sucker, and bonytail. Many of the West’s most recognizable mammals depend on the Colorado River for water and to sustain adequate food sources. Gray wolves, grizzly bear, black bear, mountain lions, coyotes, and lynx walk the river’s banks. Elk, mule deer, and bighorn sheep live in her forests. Beavers, river otters, and muskrats live directly in the river’s flow as well as in streams and creeks throughout the Colorado River basin. The Colorado River provides water for close to 40 million people and irrigates nearly 4 million acres of American and Mexican cropland. Agriculture uses the vast majority of the river’s water. In 2012, 78% of the Colorado’s water was used for agriculture alone. 45% of the water is diverted from the Colorado River basin which spells disaster for basin ecosystems. Major cities that rely on these trans-basin diversions include Denver, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Salt Lake City. Despite the Colorado River’s importance to life, she is being destroyed. Before the construction of dams and large-scale diversion, the Colorado flowed 1,450 miles into the Pacific Ocean near Sonora, Mexico. The river’s life story is an epic saga of strength, determination, and the will to deliver her waters to the communities who need them. Across those 1,450 miles, she softened mountainsides, carved through red rock, and braved the deserts who sought to exhaust her. Now, however, the Colorado River suffers under a set of laws, court decrees, and multi-state compacts that are collectively known as the “Law of the River.” The Law of the River allows humans to take more water from the river than actually exists. Granting the river the rights we seek for her would help the courts revise problematic laws. The regulations set forth in the 1922 Colorado River Compact are the most important and, perhaps, the most problematic. Seven states (Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming) are allotted water under the Compact. When the Compact was enacted, the parties assumed that the river’s flow would remain at a reliable 17 million acre-feet of water per year and divided the water using a 15-million acre feet per year standard. But, hydrologists now know 17 million acre-feet represented an unusually high flow and was a mistake. Records show that the Colorado River’s flow was only 9 million acre-feet in 1902, for example. From 2000-2016, the river’s flow only averaged 12.4 million acre-feet per year. So, for the last 16 years, the Compact states have been legally allowed to use water that isn’t there.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Aamodt Settlement Act Signed into Law by Interior Secretary Zinke by lajicarita By KAY MATTHEWS On September 15 Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took a few minutes out of his attack on our national monuments to announce in the Federal Register that all conditions of the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act have been met and it is officially a done deal. This adjudication determines both ground and surface water rights of the four Pojoaque Basin pueblos, Nambe, Tesuque, San Ildefonso, and Pojoaque, and all non-pueblo residents. As I’ve laid out in previous La Jicarita articles, these conditions stipulate that 1) the necessary water supply that must be delivered to the Pueblos via the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System—2,381 afy—has been permitted by the State Engineer; and 2) “The State has enacted necessary legislation and has provided funding as required under the Settlement Agreement.” As I’ve also laid out in previous La Jicarita articles, Taos County has filed an appeal of its protest of the Top of the World water transfer that supplies part of that water to the Pueblos. And the County of Santa Fe passed a resolution in 2015 stating that it will not appropriate its share of the $261 necessary to fund the Regional Water System “until the legal status of County Roads running through the Settling Pueblos has been resolved.” San Ildefonso Pueblo is claiming that county roads that cross through its “external boundaries” belong to the pueblo and is seeking easement payments. The county claims that it has rights of way on all the roads in question. There has been no resolution of this controversy that has pitted the Pueblos against the non-Pueblo residents of the affected county lands. Dave Neal, an officer of the Northern New Mexicans Protecting Land, Water, and Rights (NNMProtects), a group of Valley residents who have fought both the Aamodt Settlement and to resolve the road easement issue, told La Jicarita that Zinke has extended the deadline for this road resolution from September 15 to November 15, but that the county remains determined that no funds will be released until county residents are assured easements. Even with this extension, could this mean that the Settlement may actually come up short on its requisite water supply and funding and fail to be implemented (the State also failed to pass a required $9 appropriation in last year’s legislative session)? Another possible roadblock would be the failure to complete the Regional Water System by 2024, the deadline stipulated for completion in the Settlement Act. None of this seems to bother the powers that be behind this 51 year old adjudication who have pushed this controversial project through the legal process with little regard for fairness, cost, burdensome bureaucracy, the abrogation of the transfer protest process, the cumulative impacts of moving paper water from basin to basin, dipping one more straw into the Rio Grande, and most importantly, the changing nature of our environment and climate that could easily render water supply inadequate or even nonexistent. The legal process does allow for a challenge to the Final Decree, which is being mounted by many of the 300 plus non-Pueblo Pojoaque Valley residents who objected to the terms of the settlement but whose objections were dismissed by the court overseeing the adjudication. They have now filed a notice of appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, represented by Blair Dunn of the Western Agriculture, Resource and Business Advocates law firm. This will be an uphill battle considering the forces deployed against it. Just one last note about Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. While questions should always be raised about how local communities are consulted when public lands are assigned certain restrictions, such as national monument designation, that’s not really what Zinke’s agenda is about. His aim is to aid and abet the movement within the Republican Party to privatize as many public lands as possible in order to turn them over to the extractive industry. As Outside Magazine reported on Zinke’s secret memo to Trump on his review of the monuments, which was leaked to the press, the GOP’s official platform states: “Congress shall immediately pass universal legislation providing for a timely and orderly mechanism requiring the federal government to convey certain federally controlled public lands to states.” The American Lands Council, based in Utah, is spearheading the movement, which makes the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments the most vulnerable. lajicarita | September 21, 2017 at 11:02 am | Tags: Aamodt Adjudication Settlement, American Lands Council, Bears Ears National Monument, Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, NNMProtects | Categories: Acequias, Climate Change, Groundwater, New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Private Property, Public Lands, Water Adjudication, water and acequias | URL: http://wp.me/p2bCkq-1JR
Monday, September 18, 2017
Texas vs. New Mexico water lawsuit now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court could take as long as another decade to be resolved
LAS CRUCES - The Texas vs. New Mexico water lawsuit now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court could take as long as another decade to be resolved, a consultant water attorney for the city said during a recent meeting. "It's going to be much longer than four years," Jim Brockmann said in response to a question posed by Las Cruces City Councilor Ceil Levatino. "It's very complex litigation. The state of New Mexico hasn't even filed counterclaims or cross claims. "If I was really going to take my best guess, I'd say closer to 10 years than to four." What's next? The litigation has pitted the state of Texas against New Mexico in a U.S. Supreme Court battle over groundwater use in southern New Mexico. The case has consumed the attention of major water users in the region, including cities, farmers and irrigation districts, many of whom could see ramifications from the eventual outcome. In particular, many are worried about a curtailment of water use that could result. In February, the Supreme Court agent who is overseeing the lawsuit declined a request by the state of New Mexico to throw out the case. Las Cruces city councilors also heard Monday from Assistant New Mexico Attorney General Tania Maestas, who gave an update on the litigation. She said there could be oral arguments related to the motion to dismiss, but if not, the case will proceed with New Mexico filing its formal response to the lawsuit and possibly making its own allegations, known as counter-claims. "This is when we actually get to state points that we feel are especially important to the citizens here and the water users here in New Mexico," she said. City-AG's office partnership The city, as a major groundwater user in Doña Ana County, is "very clearly aligned" with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office in the lawsuit, Brockmann said. The lawsuit boils down to control over groundwater in south-central New Mexico, he said. The city believes the state of New Mexico is the controlling authority. "So it's absolutely critical for us that we communicate and coordinate with the state Attorney General's Office to make sure that those groundwater rights that are administered under state law are protected under state law," he said. "And that is a primary position for the attorney general in that litigation." The Las Cruces-based Elephant Butte Irrigation District, which delivers river water to farmers throughout Doña Ana County, has opposed the state of New Mexico's position in lawsuit. Maestas said current Attorney General Hector Balderas has talked with EBID about their stance in the case, which hadn't been done previously. Also, EBID has started having technical-oriented discussions with a group of groundwater users known as the Lower Rio Grande Water Users Organization. That group has been carrying out work on the technical information that would be key to any settlement of the lawsuit. Brockmann said the water users group, which includes the city of Las Cruces, had been working not only because of the Supreme Court litigation but also because of an ongoing water adjudication case in state district court. That long-term proceeding will legally define water rights for water users throughout Doña Ana County. Origins The lawsuit arose out of 1938 Rio Grande Compact, which apportioned river water among three U.S. states, experts have said. New Mexico’s measuring point for delivering water to Texas was the Elephant Butte Reservoir — roughly 100 miles north of the actual Texas state line. The river water released from the reservoir serves farmers in the New Mexico-based Elephant Butte Irrigation District and the Texas-based El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, as well as in Mexico. Groundwater pumping in that same 100-mile stretch, however, has been the purview of the New Mexico State Engineer’s Office. The groundwater and river water systems are connected. Texas has argued that New Mexico has allowed over-pumping of groundwater, undermining El Paso irrigators’ share of river water. A 2010 agreement between EBID and the El Paso irrigation district attempted to resolve a longstanding dispute over apportioning water. Former New Mexico Attorney General Gary King challenged the agreement in federal district court, which onlookers said prompted Texas to file its lawsuit against New Mexico at the U.S. Supreme Court. EBID has continued to back the operating agreement of 2008. Diana Alba Soular may be reached at 575-541-5443, firstname.lastname@example.org or @AlbaSoular on Twitter.
Surface Water Quality Bureau Our mission is to preserve, protect, and improve New Mexico's surface water quality for present and future generations. ________________________________________ REQUEST FOR QUOTES TO CONDUCT WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT PLANNING Purpose The Surface Water Quality Bureau (Bureau) of the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) requests quotes from regional public comprehensive planning organizations to conduct water quality management planning as defined under sections 205(j) and 303(e) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). These funds are made available through a Request for Quotes (RFQ) as this is the appropriate approach through the State of New Mexico Procurement Code given the duration and amount of an award. In response to this RFQ NMED seeks detailed quotes (i.e. proposals) to conduct water quality management planning. While all quotes focused on water quality management planning are welcomed, those which will fund activities that clearly address the State’s water quality goals to preserve, protect and improve the water quality in New Mexico are likely to be rated highest. In this respect, NMED encourages quotes focused on Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), Use Attainability Analyses (UAAs), or other water quality management planning activities that will directly address identified water quality impairments but do not overlap with development of watershed based plans that are eligible for funding through NMED’s 319(h) program. Funding for the work program is dependent on the receipt of federal grants authorized under Section 604(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. The New Mexico Environment Department anticipates having funds available for award in early 2018. Contact Person The contact person for this request for quotes is: Heidi Henderson, Monitoring, Assessment and Standards Section, Surface Water Quality Bureau, N.M. Environment Department, Harold Runnels Building - 1190 St. Francis Drive, N2109, P.O. Box 5469, Santa Fe, NM 87502. Telephone: 505-827-2901. E-mail Address: email@example.com. A complete copy of the RFQ can be requested from the contact person or downloaded from the Bureau website: https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/. All inquiries regarding the RFQ or its supporting documentation must be made to the contact person. Submission of Quotes Any questions regarding the RFQ must be submitted to Heidi Henderson by October 2, 2017. The Bureau will prepare a response to any questions received and will post the responses to the Bureau website for review by all offerors before the final submission of quotes is due. An original and three copies of the quote must be submitted by registered mail or delivered in person for review to the contact person at the above address by 4:30 PM, MDT on October 18, 2017. Electronically mailed quotes and hardcopy quotes received after this deadline will not be accepted. ________________________________________ NMED does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, disability, age or sex in the administration of its programs or activities, as required by applicable laws and regulations. NMED is responsible for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning non-discrimination requirements implemented by 40 C.F.R. Part 7, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972. If you have any questions about this notice or any of NMED’s non-discrimination programs, policies or procedures, you may contact: Kristine Pintado, Non-Discrimination Coordinator New Mexico Environment Department 1190 St. Francis Dr., Suite N4050 P.O. Box 5469 Santa Fe, NM 87502 (505) 827-2855 firstname.lastname@example.org If you believe that you have been discriminated against with respect to a NMED program or activity, you may contact the Non-Discrimination Coordinator identified above or visit our website at https://www.env.nm.gov/non-employee-discrimination-complaint-page/ to learn how and where to file a complaint of discrimination. ________________________________________ TMDL AND ASSESSMENT TEAM CONTACT: Heidi Henderson 505-827-2901 https://www.env.nm.gov/surface-water-quality/tmdl/
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
Small Water System Partnership Workshop December 12, 2017 | Santa Fe, NM | 9:00AM-12:00PM Santa Fe Community College (Health Sciences Building Room 487) 6401 Richards Ave, Santa Fe, NM 87508 Register Online OR Download the Mail-In Registration Form CEUs: This workshop has been submitted to the state for CEUs. This workshop is complimentary. Please register to reserve your spot. Small systems face a variety of issues and concerns related to increasingly strict regulatory compliance, aging infrastructure, affordability, lack of economy of scale (it costs more to serve small communities than large ones on a per capita basis), decreasing population base, and many others. One strategy that can help small communities meet these challenges more economically is collaborating with other utilities. Learn more about formal and informal collaboration approaches including: sharing operators or bookkeepers, forming buying consortiums to purchase chemicals or equipment, sharing a water source, developing emergency interconnects, or forming a group to share information. Trainer: Heather Himmelberger, Director - Southwest Environmental Finance Center Contact: Francine Stefan, email@example.com Who Should Attend: This workshop is designed for water systems serving 10,000 or fewer people (though systems of any size may attend), especially targeting local government systems facing financial challenges. Owners of privately owned systems, consultants and technical assistance providers serving water systems are also invited to attend. Link to register on line is http://efcnetwork.org/events/new-mexico-small-water-system-partnership/
Monday, August 28, 2017
Udall, Heinrich Announce $3.4 Million for Restoration Projects in the Carson, Cibola, Gila, and Lincoln National Forests
Udall, Heinrich Announce $3.4 Million for Restoration Projects in the Carson, Cibola, Gila, and Lincoln National Forests WASHINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced $3.4 million in funding from the U.S. Forest Service for restoration projects in four of New Mexico's national forests. The projects will aim to promote healthy watersheds, reduce the threat of wildfires, and improve the functioning of forest ecosystems by reducing the number and density of small diameter trees on public forest lands in New Mexico. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Collaborative Forest Restoration Program (CFRP) for ten projects in the Carson, Cibola, Gila, and Lincoln National Forests. "These projects will be instrumental in helping restore some of the most high priority areas in New Mexico's national forests," said Udall, a member of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Agriculture. "With New Mexico facing more severe wildfires every year, it is imperative we focus on strategies to prevent future wildfires, increase the health of watersheds, and improve the overall forest ecosystems. I was proud to help secure funding that helps the U.S. Forest Service invest in the long-term health of New Mexico's forests." “Forests in New Mexico provide us with drinking water, space for traditional activities like hunting and fishing, and boost our outdoor recreation economy. This critical funding will help restore New Mexico’s forests and protect our communities from the threat of wildfires, provide support to promote healthy watersheds, and improve the forest ecosystem,” said Heinrich. “I will continue to work to ensure these restoration projects remain a priority.” Recipients of this year's grant money include private forest sector businesses, conservation organizations, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Pueblo of Santa Ana. Of the total funding, $955,651 will go toward three projects in the Carson National Forest, $1.76 million will go toward five projects in the Cibola National Forest, $315,119 will go toward one project in the Gila National Forest and $360,000 will go toward one project in the Lincoln National Forest. Projects by the CFRP conduct forest landscape restoration planning and analyses; develop products, markets and capacity for the utilization of small-diameter forest materials; conduct community outreach and youth education programs; and complete critical on-the-ground forest and watershed restoration activities.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
How a California groundwater case could affect Nevada and the West The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg
How a California groundwater case could affect Nevada and the West The Nevada Independent By Daniel Rothberg …The case looks to clarify what rights Native American tribes have to groundwater on reservations. In 1908, the Supreme Court said tribes possessed a federal right to surface water, but lower courts have since clashed over whether or not those rights extend to groundwater. …For nearly 100 years, courts have differed and danced around the issue of whether reservation rights include groundwater. But in March, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave a definitive answer in the affirmative, extending groundwater rights to a California tribe in the Coachella Valley around Palm Springs. The three-judge panel said the federal government, in establishing reservations, had impliedly earmarked groundwater for tribal use. The court took the additional step of explicitly saying a tribe’s federal groundwater rights preempt state law. Tribes applauded the Ninth Circuit ruling in Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians vs. Coachella Valley Water District, et. al. And several attorneys who work on Native American resource issues said they expected to see a maelstrom of litigation as tribes act on the ruling. But the decision left many questions unanswered, and that uncertainty worries arid states where water is scarce. Where do the states’ water laws fit into the Ninth Circuit’s decision? That is the central question in the amicus brief from Laxalt on behalf of attorneys general in Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Authority over water traditionally belongs to the states. They decide how water is regulated and allocated. States are concerned that losing any control over management could further endanger aquifers that provide drinking water and often support ranching, mining and farming operations. New claims to unaccounted groundwater rights — rights that would preempt state law — could disrupt an already strained system, they argue. And the recent ruling might indirectly affect water rights on federal land that’s been reserved for national parks or military bases. Some have even argued it could affect the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s proposed pipeline project. The case history – May 2013: A Palm Springs-based tribe, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, sues two California water agencies to assert a priority right to groundwater. The tribe, with more than 400 members and 31,000 acres, criticizes how the public agencies have managed the aquifer and said they want to play a greater role in its governance. The two agencies publicly question its motives, suggesting there might be a financial incentive. – June 2014: The U.S. government joins the case and argues that the tribe’s priority rights — under what is known as the “reserved rights doctrine” — extend to groundwater. – March 2015: A district court judge rules that reserved rights include groundwater. – March 2017: The Ninth Circuit upholds the ruling. – July 2017: The agencies appeal to the Supreme Court. – August 2017: Nevada, with nine states, files a brief urging the Court to hear the case. About the reserved rights doctrine The basis for federal water rights stem from a 1908 Supreme Court case, Winters v. United States. In the Winters case, the court ruled that through establishing an Indian reservation, the federal government had impliedly allocated enough water necessary to fulfill the reservation’s purpose. In a 1963 Supreme Court case, these rights were applied to all public lands, including national monuments and wildlife refuges. The court has refined the doctrine since then, but it has never conclusively answered the question of whether reserved rights include groundwater. The Supreme Court hasn’t entirely avoided the issue. In a 1975 case involving the Death Valley National Monument, the court said that the U.S. government could protect groundwater on federal land from over-pumping. (In the case, pumping threatened the pupfish at Devils Hole.) The Ninth Circuit cited the case in its March opinion: “If the United States can protect against groundwater diversions, it follows that the government can protect the groundwater itself.” There were three significant findings in the appellate decision: 1) Tribes have a federal reserved right to groundwater on their land. 2) As federal water rights, they preempt conflicting state law. 3) The rights are not lost even if they haven’t been used in the past. What that means is up for interpretation. “It’s not clear what that would mean, for state law to be preempted,” said Leon Szeptycki, an attorney who leads a water policy group at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. The potential impact on Nevada and other states Laxalt writes of “potentially devastating consequences” if the Supreme Court decides to let the Ninth Circuit decision stand. Giving preemption to federal rights could disrupt the state’s ability to manage water and impact economies that have relied on groundwater for years, he argues. Since almost all of Nevada’s groundwater is allocated or over-allocated, he argues that the “longstanding and settled appropriation regime will be disrupted by new, unaccounted-for federal reserved groundwater rights claims that are suddenly asserted for the first time.” The result is that the new claims could push out people who have already built communities or businesses around their water rights. “Existing groundwater users may lose their established right to use that water, or be subject to curtailment in the inevitable times of scarcity,” he wrote. Given that 85 percent of Nevada land is owned by the federal government, Laxalt said that the state includes a large portion of land where possible claims could be made. When the case was pending before the Ninth Circuit, two Nevada tribes signed onto a brief supporting the Agua Caliente tribe. The Agua Caliente case was also cited during a recent hearing on the water authority’s proposed pipeline, which would convey billions of gallons of groundwater to Las Vegas. A lawyer for the Confederated Tribes of the Goshute Reservation raised the Ninth Circuit ruling during a hearing on the 263-mile pipeline project that has been held up by several legal actions. Tribes could assert reserved rights in areas where SNWA would want to pump groundwater. “There is a potential that it could apply to the pipeline project as well,” said Howard Watts, a spokesman for Great Basin Water Network, which is leading the legal fight against the project. Nevada’s opposition to the Ninth Circuit ruling taps into a larger debate about the role that the federal government should play in managing land. When the attorney general announced the amicus brief, he framed it as “challenging federal overreach on groundwater rights.” In a press release, Laxalt said he was taking “necessary steps to clarify states’ groundwater rights and ensure Nevada’s best interests are being protected from unnecessary and unwarranted federal interference.” Throughout the brief, Laxalt argued that favoring federal water rights would also undermine the state’s ability to make its own choices. The ruling, Laxalt wrote, “has left the states with great uncertainty in an area of paramount sovereign importance.” Is the Supreme Court likely to hear it? That depends on who you ask. Lawyers in the “yes” camp say that the Ninth Circuit decision has national implications and would settle a topic that has led to conflicting outcomes. In the past, state courts have reached differing conclusions on how these rights fit in with state water law. Wyoming’s Supreme Court said tribes did not have a federal groundwater right. In a later case, the Arizona Supreme Court said there was a right, just within the framework of state law. Others are skeptical. Monte Mills, an assistant professor at the University of Montana’s Indian Law Clinic, said he thinks the Supreme Court will be reluctant to hear the case until the lower courts decide how much groundwater should be allocated to the Agua Caliente tribe. Supporters and opponents agree on one thing: if the Ninth Circuit opinion stands, a flood of litigation is coming.
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.