U.S. Water News Online
CARLSBAD, N.M. -- Texas will continue to work with New
Mexico to resolve water issues along the Pecos River, Texas officials
said during a conference here.
More than 50 people from both states took part in a New Mexico
Decision Makers Field Conference sponsored by the New Mexico Tech
Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
The group spent most of the week touring the Pecos River from
north of Roswell to the Texas state line.
Herman Settemeyer, coordinator of interstate compacts for the
Texas Commission on Environment and Quality, said Texas wants to
continue to cooperate with New Mexico to resolve Pecos River issues.
He conceded Texas' attitude toward New Mexico was somewhat unfriendly
in the past, but that has changed.
``Neither Texas nor New Mexico wants to deal with a water deficit.
Texas supports New Mexico in its endeavor to find long-term solutions
to the Pecos River Compact,'' he said.
Under the Pecos River Compact, New Mexico is required to make an
annual delivery of about 64,000 acre feet of water to Texas from the
Pecos River, Settemeyer said.
He said New Mexico now has a 6,900 acre feet credit.
After the implementation of the 1947 Pecos River Compact -- which
was approved by New Mexico and Texas and then ratified by Congress --
the two states fought for many years over the meaning and
implementation of the conditions of the compact, Settemeyer said.
The Supreme Court in 1987 adopted the special master's calculation
of a 340,100 acre-feet shortfall for the years between 1950 and 1983.
The court also suggested that New Mexico repay the deficit over 10
years with water interest.
Settemeyer said the Supreme Court entered an amended decree in
1988, which established the required state line deliveries. Both
states went back to court and reached a settlement, which was
approved by the Supreme Court in 1990.
Under the terms of the settlement, New Mexico agreed to pay $14
million for past compact violations. New Mexico found itself with a
water deficit of 32,100 acre feet, Settemeyer said.
However, Carlsbad Irrigation District Manager Tom Davis reminded
Settemeyer and other water officials at the conference that the
irrigation district released 41,000 acre feet to Texas to establish a
state credit in 1991.
``We (the CID) did that at no charge to the state, and it resulted
in lawsuits from within our district,'' Davis said.
Overall, those attending the conference in Carlsbad said the
meetings and tours of the river were informative.
Texas Pecos River Compact Commissioner J.W. Thrasher said the
weeklong conference was helpful and gave him a better understanding
of the river problems on the New Mexico side.
``It's not like it was before the final decree in 1988,'' Thrasher
said. ``We are working with New Mexico to address the problems. There
has been no animosity between us and the New Mexico delegates. We are
all working toward the same goal of ensuring that there will be water
in the river. New Mexico has worked hard toward that end.''
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