WATER GRAB UPDATE
7, 2017 - [NEW]
Two books that may be of interest re: APR issue
Grants & Lawsuits in Northern New Mexico by Malcolm
Ebright, 2008 edition
(Southwest books - Center
for land grant studies
Water & Culture: New Perspectives on Hispanic Land Grants,
- Briggs, 1987 (Amazon link)
are several pertinent articles reference in the Ebright
work, from the Journal of the Southwest, Autumn, 1990. They
go with this excerpt....
ancient Hispanic practices as to the location and boundaries
of land grants, water rights, do not conform and have not
conformed to Anglo-American standards for legal descriptions...as
Absolute title with the right to sell water is an Anglo
concept imposed on New Mexico water users fairly recently,
and like the imposition of a partition suit, it will inevitably
lead to the loss of water rights, just as the partition
suit resulted in the loss of common lands. Communal control
of irrigation water by acequia associations has helped the
communities that use those resources to survive, but with
privatization both water rights and the communities themselves
are in jeopardy...." - Frances Levine in "Dividing
are the full text of articles from the Autumn issue of Journal
of the Southwest that may be of use giving some legal and
common law background behind some of these water fights....
Rights Law and Tradition.pdf
entire Autumn, 1990 issue of Journal of the Southwest was
devoted to Water Rights in New Mexico. (Three examples below)
Of course, there are many other studies, some more recent,
but the back-grounding in the issues were adjudicated in
the courts of the last 60-70 years....
Water, and Pueblo-Hispanic Relations in Northern New Mexico
- Autumn 1990 -Quantana
Research on Land and Water in New Mexico: A Critique - Autumn
1900 - Rodriguez
Never-ending source of Water: Agriculture, Society, and
Aquifer Deletion on the Coast of Hermosillo, Snorooa - Winter
2012 - Moreno
researching the subject documents it's important to make
a distinction between water law, water rights, surface water
The term acquifer[s] is not useful because most of the hydrological
studies that refer to acquifers do so in terms of groundwater
vs. surface water. There is an additional problem because
while everyone knows that surface waters are related to
rivers and groundwater basins, the knowledge of groundwater.
Sources are often highly technical in its exact relationship.
Claims about recharging groundwater resources periodically,
or about depleting such resources
torture the definitions
of water rights on the surface and their relationship to
groundwater basins and the connection of those groundwater
resources to flowing rivers. The geologic fact of the course
of the Rio Grande through New Mexico has also made arguments
about urban growth and water resource management highly
political....and stretched the concepts around common lands
2 articles below are representative about the issues and
Of course the APR issue is "privatization" of
something underground that can be attached or sold off like
a separate mineral resource and detached from or attached
to the concept of private property. That may mean that they
can put the resource into a deed of conveyance, but the
issue of adjudicating the true ownership of the same resource
in a court of law is often technical and highly flawed when
it comes to politicians, judges, and state agencies such
as the New Mexico State Engineer....having been captured
by corporate interests....
issues about whether the community, smaller or larger, has
rights to manage the use of groundwater resources have not
recently been accorded priority when stood up against private
the Chicago-Kent College of Law Scholarly Commons @ IIT
Chicago-Kent College of Law ...
Supply and Urban Growth in NM - Same old same old, or a
new era - March 1, 2003
Aquifers: Conceptual Models for Development of International
Law - Ground Water 43 No.5 Eckstein
commentary above can be downloaded here
Journal of the Southwest (wiki)
of the Southwest website
on P3 in the context of the Plains water project is like
complaining that the mugger who slugged me and stole my
wallet had dirty fingernails. It is not the subject of primary
(the legislation) includes both surface
and underground water.
I see that it adds a few requirements to those already required
to be addressed by the OSE. However, I don't see that it
presents special hurdles to the APR, and it also lacks detail
in some areas:
whether the entity in the receiving basin has prepared and
implemented a drought contingency plan and an approved water
benefits presently and prospectively derived from the return
flow of water used within the basin of
origin that will be eliminated by the proposed out-of-basin
is return flow? Return from where?
whether the source of supply can reliably sustain the diversion's
anticipated firm yield considering the
predicted effects of climate change on precipitation patterns
and temperature in the basin of origin.
APR, despite its greenwashing about capturing surface water
for recharging the aquifer, admits that there is negligible
natural recharge and has presented no evidence that it can
achieve artificial recharge. It claims that irrespective
of such activity (and thus of climate-associated changes
to precipitation patterns) the water reservoir underlying
the Plains contains 300 years' worth of pumping at the stated
rate. So all it has to do to meet condition 11) is abandon
the flimsy pretense that it will do any recharging.
Finally, if I were the APR, I'd guarantee Plains residents
an ample supply of water at a nominal rate. My money's being
made from the Valley communities, especially once they're
dependent on "my" water to sustain the overdevelopment
that its consumption permits. I see no problem doling out
a few hundred acre-feet to keep the locals happy.
are you prepared to do when the APR makes this guarantee:
never mind about your wells; we'll meet your water needs!
do you object to this situation? If not, where's the problem?
if you do object to it, what in any existing or proposed
water law gives you any legal ground to prevent it? I really
think you ought to answer both of these questions. If you
can't, this legislation business just invites pettifoggery
on both sides by evading the real issue.
I don't see how the APR can expect to overcome the objection
that wrecked their previous proposal: they have no end user
and are merely speculating.
(1) Links to SB 77 -
NM SB 77 link to NM.gov or
Basin Water Transfer Senate bill 2014
Jim Nelson - Magdalena
the above commentary
27, 2016 -
ALEC, is deeply imbeded in NM politics .... "Corporations
and the Richest Americans Viscerally Oppose Common Good.
The Masters of Mankind want us to become the "stupid
nation," in the interests of their short-term gain
-- damn the consequences." Alternet
Part 1 Part
22, 2016 - P3 in Canada - Guardian
20, 2016 -
As you know, the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC (APR LLC) has
published its amended application to mine water in the Plains
of San Augustin basin. Despite the fact that we already
beat this proposal, State Engineer Blaine has apparently
given the Ranch's illegal proposal another shot. Unfortunately,
this proceeding probably won't be like the last one - the
Ranch has asked for a technical hearing .
You may remember that when we began this fight, we were
told that we might have to hire a hydrologist. That day
is why it is so important that our side has its own scientific
expert: APR has commissioned a study that shows that pumping
54000 acre-feet/year will not affect our wells. You and
I know that this is patent nonsense. However, as you may
guess, the State Engineer and the courts will place little
value on our gut reactions. Instead, they will be swayed
by the testimony of hydrologists
which means that
we need a hydrologist. And while we do not agree that this
is right or fair, it is the reality we must deal with.
detail click here:
4, 2016 -
Officials listen to water concerns.
More than 80 ranchers and concerned citizens ... (attended)
a meeting by the Interim Legislative Committee for Water
and Natural Resources to discuss the Augustin Plains Ranch
LLC (APR) plan...
in The Chieftain
about Augustine Plains
from the October 26 meeting of WNRC:
Video 1 of 12 - Chris Lindeen, Deputy General Counsel,
Office of the State Engineer (OSE) and Brett Bruton - local
Video 2 of 12 - Henry Edwards - local rancher
Video 3 of 12 - Anita Hand, Catron County Commissioner
Comments and questions
Video 4 of 12
Video 5 of 12
Video 6 of 12
Video 7 of 12
Video 8 of 12
Video 9 of 12
Video 10 of 12
Video 11 of 12
Video 12 of 12
the 2nd district debate between Steve Pearce and Merrie
27, 2016 -
need to oppose water grab - Chieftain
October 27, 2016 - Video of the meeting will be available
by Monday 30th.
rundown on the meeting of the Legislative Committee on Water
and Natural Resources yesterday (October 26). By Carol Pittman
Nine years and counting. The project to mine water in the
Plains of San Augustin just wont go away.
proposal was front and center at the October 26 meeting
of the Legislative Committee on Water and Natural Resources.
B of the Fidel Center on the New Mexico Tech campus in Socorro
was filled to capacity for the meeting that prominently
featured the Augustin Plains.
morning, Stacy Timmons, Aquifer Mapping Program Manager,
discussed New Mexico Techs groundwater mapping in
the state. Dr. Timmons explained that the mapping will show
where the groundwater is, how much there is, and that their
work will help to determine how long the groundwater supply
will last. She pointed out that there are some areas, like
the Augustin Plains, where there is not enough information,
no high quality data.
Tomás Salazar, District 70 San Miguel, asked if the
data was relative to making decisions about the basin, and
Stacy replied, Yes.
Salazar then suggested that resources should be directed
to places where there is a need for help in making decisions.
afternoon meeting continued discussion of the Augustin Plains.
Anita Hand, Catron County Commissioner and representing
the San Augustin Water Coalition; Brett Bruton and Henry
Edwards, both local ranchers, spoke of the hardships the
water mining project would inflict on ranching in the Plains.
They spoke eloquently on behalf of the people living in
Catron County and the widespread damage the project would
Lindeen, Deputy General Counsel, Office of the State Engineer
(OSE), was also a member of the panel, and he reviewed the
process the project would need to go through (again). Mr.
Lindeen told the legislators that all protestants of the
original application, as well as 150 new protestants, would
be included in the process. He stated that it would probably
be a year before the first hearing would be held, stating
The more protests, the longer it takes.
Pat Woods, Curry, Quay and Union, District 7, then asked
Lindeen, Do you know how much water is there?
To which Lindeen responded The previous application
was dismissed based on hydrology. When pressed for
details, Lindeen noted that the applications end users
named were vague. (Note: applicants for water
rights must be specific as to beneficial use for an application
to meet the requirements of the law)Senator Peter Wirth
noted that inter-basin transfers might not be welcome in
New Mexico, that, We really need to look at this.
Candy Ezzell, Chairman of the Committee, pointed out that
if we allow movement of water like this, every rural
area is threatened.
Steinborn, representative from Doña Ana District
35, noted that Everyone has a shared interest In water.
It isnt just might makes right. He further noted
that People are brought together from all persuasions
to defend water.
Tripp, our representative on the committee, urged the room
full of people to stay involved.
note to everyone receiving this note: You have stayed involved
for a long time, and thats the reason we can hope
to win this water battle. Thank you all.
those of you who might like to take some action, a note
to Senator Wirth would be helpful. In your note, you might
thank him for his support and ask that he re-introduce SB
77 regarding water transfers. Here
is a link to the bill for you:
Senator Wirth can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The more notes the better!
SB0077 - Inter
Basin Water Transfer Senate bill 2014
the report here
sites of interest:
The 2001 Legislature enacted the Water Project Finance
Act which created the Water
Project Fund in the NMFA and charged the NMFA with the administration
of the Fund and the Water Trust Board. Click
Water Resources in NM click
USGS water-resource projects in NM click
Water P3 Market and US EPA Activities - Seattle,
April 21-22, 2016 - Report
Compaction, Recovery in Albuquerque Basin - 1 page report
water level data for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.
- 1 page report
a Global Crisis Looming:
By 2030, Four Out of 10 People Wont Have Access to
13, 2016 - Augustin
Plains Ranch Q and A (Chieftain story)
Ranche Water Application - letter to the editor by Emily
12, 2016 - The Water and Natural Resources Meeting on Wed.
APR Presentation will be at 2:30
San Augustin Plains presentation is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
on Wednesday in Socorro.
So its still undecided whether public comment will
be received at the meeting. We should know on Friday when
the final agenda is posted on the committee website.
A message from Eileen Dodds stated:
is on the agenda for W&NR in Socorro.
7, 2016 - KNME on APR project. New Mexico in Focus program:
download the video MP4 format
Related information referred in the video -
30, 2016 - Environmental
group ask state to deny firms request for water permit
(SF New Mexican)
17, 2016 - New
Mexico official clears way for hearing on water proposal
(SF New Mexican)
politicians in the video::
Foley in the panel discussion
Stell Named in the discussion
6, 2016 - Looming megadroughts in western US would make
current drought look minor:
Warming temperatures and uncertain rainfall mean if more
isnt done to slow climate change, droughts lasting
35 years could blight western states, study says... Full
Related: Above article based on this full report:
Relative impacts of mitigation, temperature, and
precipitation on 21st-century megadrought
the American Southwest.pdf
6, 2016 -
The meeting of the Interim Legislative Committee on Water
and Natural Resources will be held in
Socorro on October 26 at New Mexico Tech. I dont
have a time yet, but probably it will be afternoon. Ill
let you know about that as soon as I know. The Augustin
Plains will be on the agenda and we will be allowed to speak
at the meeting, so think about what you might like to tell
This is very good news. If you want to call and thank Don
Tripp, that would be very nice (or email him):
phone 575-835-2461 or 1-800-256-1569
and energy are inextricably linked and mutually dependent,
with each affecting the others availability. Water
is needed for energy development and generation, and energy
is required to supply, use, and treat drinking water and
wastewater. Water and energy are also essential to our health,
quality of life, and economic growth, and demand for both
these resources continues to rise. GAO
The FULL APR application is
available below which contains all the exhibits, etc..,
It is extremely important to review it. Basically they are
going to take our water, destroy the ecosystem and leave
us with sinking land and a desert. Meanwhile, sell the water,
what is left, back to us. April
28, 2016 APR Full 168 page application
30, 2016 -
Below find the visuals used in the presentation by Dennis
in Magdalena September 28th in 3 different formats:
Point Show.ppsx (This should open a window. Use
space bar or arrow keys to move through the show and ESC
key to exit.)
capping of private and community wells - a
Nevada issue that may appear in New Mexico
28, 2019 -
presentation dated October 2013
Village resolution re: APR
Application dated April 28, 2016 and published in the newpapers
September 2016. OR Click
here for the FULL application sent to the State Engineeer
Court actions updated to Sept 22, 2016
Articles Written for Members of th NM
State Legislature and the Public 2015
27, 2016 - Committee on Water and Natural Resources canceled
the Friday Sept 30 meeting and will use the same agenda
October 26th - more details later.
23, 2016 - If APR doesn't get the water, beware the likes
20, 2016 - (9/26/16 - Friday meeting canceled) - The Legislative
Interim Committee on Water and Natural Resources will meet
in Socorro Sept 29-30 and the Augustin Plains Ranch project
is on the agenda. The agenda is attached. If you can attend
it will let the committee know that we are serious about
our opposition. We should let the committee know that!
The location of the meeting appears at the top of the agenda.
Below is a map showing the way to the Fidel Center where
the meeting will be. If you'd like to car pool please call
me at 575-772-5866.
I suggest that we go on the second day, Sept
here for agenda .
is the 2012 press release from the State Engineer office
rejection of the application back then. It has the reasons
for rejection and who protested it.
April 2, 2012 - State
Engineer press release on rejection of Application
8, 2016 - NEW APPLICATION FILED -
Carol Pittman, leading the fight:
Augustin Plains Ranch LLC has published the
legal notice of its new application to mine
water in the Plains of San Augustin. The notice is below,
hopefully in a form readable by most humans. Note that the
RG filing number is the same, indicating that this is the
same application as before, with a few tweaks.
To protest the new application by the APR to
mine water in our Augustin Plains basin: if you have a well
that will be impaired, be sure to stress that circumstance.
ALSO include in your protest that this application
is contrary to conservation of water and public welfare,
but be sure that you include any impairment to your own
well if that is the case. Anybody who lives or owns property
in the vicinity of the Augustin Plains basin will be impaired,
if not immediately, then within the foreseeable future,
and it is important to note that.
Note: Send three copies of your letter (as required in the
If you have previously protested, when you send your letter
please add at the bottom:
PLEASE ADD THESE COMMENTS TO MY PREVIOUS LETTER OF PROTEST
TO THIS PROJECT
The reason for that last line is that the Office of the
State Engineer has told me that they will eliminate duplicate
protests, and we are protesting this application partly
on the basis of public welfare in order to qualify every
protestant as someone who is directly impacted by the project.
The OSE has a tendency to throw out letters of protest if
that office decides that your water supply is not directly
impacted. We want to change that for obvious reasons.
For updates on the progress of this application, please
see the website San Augustin Water Report.
To all of you a BIG THANK YOU for all the years you have
stuck with this effort. We cant quit now!!!
Sample short letter .txt
Sample long letter .txt
press release form Carol Pittman.pdf
Democracy Now! had an interview with the attorney representing
15 farmers in Iowa protesting "Eminent Domain"
use by a private company to force farmers to submit to the
pipeline thorough their land. It is possible eminent domain
might be used by APR to force the taking of our water.
Read the interview here.pdf
may protest Augustin Plains application
It appeared in the Santa
Fe New Mexican
and other papers around the country:
Environmental Law Center comment on the press release:
Meiklejohn, an attorney with the New Mexico Environmental
Law Center, said the latest application by the developers
does not include any specifics about who the actual water
users would be and only mentions that cities such as Albuquerque
and Rio Rancho are in the market for more water rights.
appears that the application suffers from the same lack
of end user that was the basis for us getting it dismissed
the first time," he said. "You can't speculate
in water in New Mexico. It's illegal." Santa Fe New
16, 2016 updates:
Propaganda "news releases" have gone out prior
to what will be a new application to move the water from
is one release
to this is another release - A
Proposal for Rainwater Harvesting Gains Momentum in NM
PR firm is The
Watch your local papers. Waite also works for the NM
Rural Water Association
- Cornell report: US
SW May face mega drought this century
Monitor for NM
here for APR web page
16, 2016 - Plans
reveal sobering water future - Laura
Paskus - New Mexico In Depth - May 26, 2016
26, 2016 -
A disturbing trend in the water sector is accelerating worldwide.
The new water barons the Wall Street
banks and elitist multibillionaires are buying up
water all over the world at unprecedented pace.
study: Public Information and Regulatory Processes: What
the Public Knows and Regulators Decide - A study published
in Review of Policy Research looks at rulemaking in five
states, including the role of citizen input.
30 - 15 new documents related to the P3 issue are on the
P3 web page. click here
21, 2016 -
article on the annual meeting
Much Groundwater Does the West have?, Simplified (video)
notice from NM Environmental Law Center: The APR will be
re-applying for drilling permits any day now and please
keep an eye on legal notices in your papers. If you see
a notice, notify us with name of paper and date and CC:
the NMELC to make sure it reaches the right people.
may have a partner in Aquifer Science, LLC. If anybody has
information on the relationship with this company, please
let us know.
business registration here.
Nevada registration here
State turns down water bid for East Mountain development
- April 2011 - Aquifer Science, a partnership between Campbell
Ranch and Vidler Water
Company, is applying to the Office of the State Engineer
(OSE) for a permit to pump 1500 acre feet of water from
the Sandia Basin each year.
into this is Vidler New Mexico, LLC
Registration information click
we "won" the court case.
The original 2008 application rejected by the state engineer
stands. Albuquerque Channel 7, KOAT, was there with video
here for article and video
issue from the NM Environmental Law Center: :
The New York-based company seeks to pump 54,000 acre-feet
of water annually through thirty-seven 20 wells. The
Law Center represents approx. 80 individuals and organizations
in this case; our clients are concerned about the impacts
of pumping on their water, on wildlife, springs, and on
the Rio Grande and Gila Rivers, which are hydrologically
connected to the San Augustin Plainsand which is the
last undammed river in the Southwest.
of the legal story here
Judge stands by ruling on water use