U.S. Water News Online
SUNLAND PARK, N.M. -- The New Mexico Bankruptcy Court has
approved a deal to transfer $6.4 million of water rights from Crowder
Investment Company to Dona Ana County and a development group.
The water rights have been tied up since the Crowder family filed
for bankruptcy court protection. The family had owned the Santa
Teresa Service Company before the utility was condemned by Sunland
Under the deal approved by the court, the county and El Paso,
Texas-based Verde Group will jointly own 18,773 acre feet of water.
Verde Group plans to use 12,000 acre feet for development of its
property. Two thousand acre feet will be held in reserve, and the
county will have use of 4,733 acre feet.
Philip Crowder, son of Charlie and Phyllis Crowder, said the $6.4
million awarded to his family for the water was not a fair price. He
accused Verde Group of using political influence to secure the deal.
``I don't think it is adequate at all. It did not deal with
equity. It was a long process of diminishing the value of the rights
so they could be overtaken in this type of manner,'' he said.
Sunland Park Mayor Jesus Ruben Segura was lukewarm about the
``It was the best thing based on the circumstances,'' he said.
Santa Teresa Services Company has been at the heart of more than a
dozen lawsuits between Sunland Park and the county in recent years.
Gov. Bill Richardson acknowledged the county and Sunland Park for
their willingness to reach agreement and clear the way for the water
to be transferred. He said Verde's planned economic activity will
benefit New Mexico's entire border region.
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