WATER ALERT ::: SB 440 (LOWER RIO GRANDE WATER RIGHTS) is scheduled for Tuesday (Feb. 19) afternoon in the Senate Conservation Committee (Room 311). This bill would expend $120 million of public money to purchase water rights in Northern New Mexico for purposes of conveying that water to Elephant Butte Reservoir & the Lower Rio Grande. THIS BILL SHOULD BE OPPOSED BECAUSE IT WOULD TAKE WATER RIGHTS AWAY FROM THE NORTH & STILL FAIL TO SOLVE THE SOUTH’S WATER SCARCITY PROBLEM. The bill refers to a “severe imbalance” in Rio Grande water supply; i.e. the North has more water than the parched South. This overlooks the fact that during times of drought such as now, all parties have less water. It also overlooks the reality that the greatest level of “beneficial use” for water comes when it is used closest to its source point; the farther that water needs to travel, the more of it will be lost to evaporation and seepage. Therefore the Interstate Stream Commission could spend $120 million to buy up water rights in the North, and it still could very likely be just a drop in the bucket of what the South needs to satisfy the water needs for its large-scale pecan, chile and cotton farms & the growing city of Las Cruces. THEREFORE I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO CONSIDER SPEAKING OUT AGAINST SB 440. DON’T LET EL NORTE LOSE OUR WATER RIGHTS! Depending on when the Senate floor session concludes, the Conservation Committee hearing could take place any time from 2 pm to the evening on Tuesday, Feb. 19.http://www.nmlegis.gov/Sessions/13%20Regular/bills/senate/SB0440.htmlSB0440RELATING TO WATER; PROVIDING FOR THE INTERSTATE STREAM COMMISSION TO ACQUIRE, RETIRE, PROTECT AND CONSERVE WATER RIGHTS AND CONSERVE WATER IN THE LOWER RIO GRANDE BASIN; MAKING AN APPROPRIATION.