Gila Pipeline

Earth Matters Program on Gila Pipeline Threat


This week’s program focuses on a funding proposal by NM  State Senator John Arthur Smith for a pipeline which threatens the Gila River and a cascade of developments regarding the Arizona Water Settlements Act.


Earth Matters co-producer Allyson Siwik of Gila Resources Information Project and the Gila Conservation Coalition hosts this week’s program with Todd Schulke, senior staff and co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity and partner in the Gila Conservation Coalition in which they discuss the details behind Senator Smith’s threat and what it means for the future of the Gila River.
Senator Smith’s $25M capital outlay request for a pipeline from the Gila to Las Cruces had its desired effect.  In secret meetings not open to the public, state and local officials have been scrambling to cut a back room deal on the Arizona Water Settlements Act to divert Gila River water for use in Silver City, the Mining District and Deming so that Senator Smith won’t fulfill his trumped up threat to send the Gila water to the Rio Grande if southwest New Mexico doesn’t come up with a unified plan.


Tune in this week: tonight (Tuesday) at 8pm and Thursday 10 am and 8 pm via web stream.


Listen to the program now via podcast on Gila/Mimbres Community Radio.



Gila Conservation Coalition
305A North Cooper Street
Silver City, NM 88061


Santa Fe County Rural Water System Policy

Santa Fe County

Santa Fe County Rural Water System Policy Town Hall

Santa Fe County Rural Water System Policy Town Hall
Santa Fe, NM – February 25, 2013 – The Santa Fe County Public Works Department will host a Town Hall on Thursday, February 28, 2013 to discuss Rural Water System Policy. The Town Hall will be held at the Nancy Rodriguez Community Center, 1 Prairie Dog Loop, Santa Fe, NM 87507 from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
On April 24, 2012, the Santa Fe Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution 2012-58, A Resolution Articulating County Policy Regarding Funding Requests From Private, Quasi-Public, or Public Water and Wastewater Systems for Capital Improvements This policy was passed in response to numerous requests for capital assistance from small drinking water systems located throughout the County, and the Board of County Commissioners desired a formal policy with which to respond to those requests.
“As we have worked within this policy for the past nine months we have realized that it could be modified to better serve all parties involved. Therefore, Santa Fe County invites all mutual domestic water consumer associations (MDWCA) and other rural water systems in the County to participate in an effort to refine the policy,” said Public Works Director Adam Leigland.
To RSVP for the Town Hall or if you have questions or comments, contact Adam Leigland, Director of Public Works at 505-992-3023 or

Fracking in san Miguel and Mora Counties

Update on Fracking in San Miguel County:

The San Miguel County Commissioners postponed the vote on a moratorium extension until March 12, 2013. Let’s keep up the pressure and hopefully many of us will be able to attend the meeting that day: 3/12/13, 1:30 pm at the courthouse, 500 W. National Ave., Las Vegas.

Also, very important:

SB 547 Ban Fracking in State of NM will be heard Thursday Feb. 28 Conservation Committee Rm 311 at 2:00 pm. Please call & email members of Conservation Committee and tell them to support this bill. Come to the hearing and show your support.

Conservation Committee
Peter Wirth, Chair – 505 986 4861 –
Benny Shendo V. Chair – 505 986 4310 –
Joseph Cervantes – 505 986 4385 –
Phil Griego – 505 986 4513 –
Richard Martinez – 505 986 4487 –
William Payne – 505 986 4703 –
William Sharer – 505 986 4381 –
William Soules (sponsor of SB 547) – 505 986 4856 –
Pat Woods – 505 986 4393 –
John Ryan – 505 238 3733 –

And one more thing:  If you haven’t signed this petition, please do:


P.S. If you want to help in any way, please contact me at Thanks!


The movie “Rooted Lands” about Fracking in Mora and San Miguel Counties will be the featured film at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Institute Wednesday Night movie series

7 PM at the Farmer’s Market pavilion $12 gen. admission, $10 for members, students under 18 and Seniors. Vendors free. More info at or (505) 983 7726


Friends of Dolphins and Whales

Dear Friends of Whales, Dolphins and other Cetaceans: 


Many of you indicated that the URL listed did not take you to the correct site for signing the whale and dolphin petition. Please accept our apologies and use the links at the bottom of this page.  

For those who are interested in a review or did not receive the e-mail, here it is:

 “We are at a crossroads. Environmental degradation is visible everywhere we look and many are feeling hopeless and disempowered to create change that will make a real difference in the world. We are close to a tipping point and your intentions and spirit are needed now to create the kind of lasting change so vital to our natural world. 

 We have written you before asking you to sign our petitions regarding the US Navy’s underwater sonar sound that is decimating our whale and dolphin populations all over the world. We are asking you again, to sign and share this with your friends and family. We may not receive the change we are asking for and the permit may still be given to cause serious harm to our cetaceans 31 million times over the next 5 years. In that period of time, thousands will die from the impact of that testing. Our government’s utter disregard for it’s own environmental laws has never been more blatant; many of the whales that will die are on the endangered species list!

 Here is why it is important for all of us that you act. Our sheer numbers cannot be ignored. By signing this you are providing a base of support to bring this to the attention of the mainstream media so even more people become aware of this dire situation. In addition to this, your signatures can possibly be used as leverage in a lawsuit against NOAA even after they move forward with their plan. This is our final push and we are asking that you, one more time (third time’s a charm, right?) please sign this latest petition. With exposure, education and a clear plan of action, we can sift this tide and you are an intergral part of that shift.”


With gratitude for your assistance,


Lyndia, Lance, Kim & Wes

To sign the petition directly go to: 



Santa Fe is Preparing for Third Consecutive Year of Drought

Santa Fe is Preparing for Third Consecutive Year of Drought

SANTA FE — February 20, 2013 — City water resource managers and decision-makers have been monitoring the drought conditions for the past two years. City water resources staff has kept up to date on the recent snowpack, reservoir levels and adverse weather conditions. According to Public Utilities Department and Water Utility Division Director Brian K. Snyder, “City staff has prepared planning documents, ordinances and operations plans for dealing with drought, and over the past two years we have been implementing these strategies. Water conservation and drought awareness are cornerstones of the City’s comprehensive water planning approach, drought or no drought.”

The City has invested in a robust and diverse mixture of surface and groundwater supply sources: the Buckman well field, City well field, Canyon Road Water Treatment Plant on the Upper Santa Fe River, and the Buckman Direct Diversion on the Rio Grande. These water sources are supplemented by reclaimed wastewater reuse and water conservation.  In case federal Bureau of Reclamation San Juan-Chama Project water is curtailed, the City also has several years’ worth of San Juan-Chama Project water stored in reservoirs. By resting the aquifer over the last four years there is increased groundwater supply for use in times of drought and the City can use this resource in a sustainable manner.

The City of Santa Fe is prepared for a third consecutive year of severe drought and heat. Should the drought conditions significantly worsen over the coming year, the City can invoke strategies to provide short-term relief from temporary drought-related water supply shortages, including mandatory water restrictions for certain types of water use.

Thanks to all of our customers who have used water wisely over the past 15 years, making more water available in times of drought. City policy makers are asking the community to continue to use water wisely. Weather predictions show this drought continuing through the summer. Santa Fe can continue to be a drought-ready community and reduce the effects of a drought by taking advantage of rebates and incentives, installing water-saving devices, fixing leaks and following indoor and outdoor water-use requirements.

For more information about water conservation in Santa Fe, including the Water Conservation and Drought Management Plan, residential and commercial rebate programs, and outdoor/indoor water use requirements, please visit more information call Rick Carpenter at 955-4206.


Comments and questions from Paul White, who forwarded this report to me: 
Will the City continue to release water for a “living river” (which would result in continued groundwater pumping thus affecting other “living rivers”), will the City impose water restrictions on outdoor watering?  When was the last time the City imposed “restrictions” on water use?  Are the City’s per capita water use table correct or fiction?

Will the City or County impose restrictions on development?  What about contingency planning in the SF County “Sustainable” land management Code?
What about priority calls for Texas, or the Navajo suit, the silvery Minnow? 
Paper rights vs. wet water?
-Paul White
   Comments and questions:          I also have many questions, especially in light of the fact that the McClure and Nichols reservoirs are well below record levels, there IS NO water coming from the San Juan-Chama project that supplies the Rio Grande with the allocation of water for Santa Fe through the Buckman Direct Diversion Project, nor has the city been pumping from the Buckman well field. (according to the daily Water Statistics in the New Mexican). Since before June 2012, there have been inadequate levels of water at the Oso Diversion Dam such that water cannot even reach the bottom of the Azotea Tunnel that is meant to bring water from the San-Juan project to the Chama River via the already severely low Heron and El Vado lakes. (See the article Op Ed Concerns About Our Water in the November 2012 issue of Green Fire Times)
Raphael Weisman
A map of the San Juan Chama project by Michael Aune is below:

Original report issued by:

Media Contact: Water Resources and Conservation Manager Rick Carpenter


Note to Editor: Sidebar Information Included:

Santa Fe’s average daily use is 107 gallons per person per day which is substantially lower than the national average of about 150 gallons.  Santa Fe has achieved its low use numbers through the implementation of a comprehensive set of ordinances that require Santa Fe’s citizens and businesses comply with water conservation requirements designed to provide financial incentives to conserve water.


Water Conservation Tips:

  • Sweep patios, driveways and sidewalks; never hose off paved surfaces.
  • Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes.
  • Take quick showers and use low-flow showerheads.
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth.
  • Don’t let the water run to “heat it up.”
  • Look for leaks inside and out and fix them.
  • Use an irrigation calculator to create a water-saving irrigation schedule. The calculator at is designed for our local climate.
  • Use a sprinkler controller that adjusts watering based on weather.
  • Take advantage of the City of Santa Fe rebates for water-saving fixtures and appliance at


see also post on this site:


2/21 Update: In a stunning turn of events, SB 440 (“Lower Rio Grande Water Rights”) passed the Senate Conservation Committee (SCONC) on a 5-3 vote with no recommendation, with all explanatory and clarifying language stripped from the bill, and after a 4-4 tie on the bill’s first vote call. Two swing Democrats, Senators Richard Martinez and Phil Griego, both from Northern New Mexico, were absent from the vote.

The committee substitute bill that passed is a $120 million appropriation to the Interstate Stream Commission “for expenditure in fiscal year 2014 and subsequent fiscal years to acquire, retire, protect and conserve water rights and conserve water in the lower Rio Grande basin.” There are no specific guidelines provided for how the $120 million shall be used, but it can be reasonably concluded that there remains great risk that it could be used to the detriment of water rights and water supply of upstream communities in the Northern and Middle Rio Grande basins. The good news is that as the bill moves forward to Senate Finance Committee, it should be very hard for Senators to justify breaking New Mexico’s bank on a $120 million “blank check” that (barely) passed Conservation, unsupported by the Attorney General and State Water Engineer, and without recommendation. In terms of public opposition, activists from the New Mexico Acequia Association, League of Conservation Voters, and Food and Water Watch New Mexico spoke out against the bill.


Full text of stripped-down SB 440 that passed SCONC without recommendation

As originally written, Senate Bill 440, sponsored by Senator Joseph Cervantes from Las Cruces, would provide $120 million in public funds to the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) for the purposes of correcting a “severe imbalance” in New Mexico water supply. In essence, it would direct ISC to purchase water rights from private entities in Northern New Mexico and convey that water through Elephant Butte Irrigation District to water users in Southern New Mexico. While the bill also purports to address other aspects of water consumption and use, overall it “provides mechanisms for the ISC to protect water rights, retire water rights, and conserve water to restore a balance among water users in New Mexico” to the detriment of water rights beneficiaries and users in Northern New Mexico.

By providing a massive and irresistible pool of money for water rights to be transferred from North to South, SB 440 is more or less “grand water theft” on a statewide scale, legitimized by greed. See more critical analysis below the 2/19 update and video, with details on the objections raised by the NM Attorney General and Water Engineer.

Post navigation← Previous“Grand Water Theft” SB 440 Still Alive – Feb. 21 Hearing after Opposition Raised by NM Attorney General & State Water EngineerPosted on February 19, 2013 by