Where’s the water??

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3 Responses to Where’s the water??

  1. It is time to stop the “Paper Water Transfers”!
    As the Multi-Year Drought Advances we just have to see around us, our water resources and our neighbors are drying up at an accelerated rate. Look at the Colorado River and other rivers in the Western United States, in just a few years they will be a trickle.

  2. Here’s some information about yet another river diversion:

    Senators slip Aamodt $$$ through system

    By Orlando Romero |

    11/27/2010

    I cannot get over the fact that the recent shellacking the Democrats got in Congress doesn’t seem to teach them a lesson about democracy.

    The Senate managed to sneak an Aamodt appropriation bill into a well-deserved and well-intentioned bill that would give Native Americans and African Americans some overdue and justly deserved compensation.

    The $4.6 billion our senators would appropriate included $92 million for Aamodt. A huge chunk will probably go to the construction of a water pipeline to both the Pueblos and non-Indians.

    That’s where the rub lies. Many folks in the Pojoaque Valley are opposed to the pipeline for non-Indians, especially in light of the fact that non-Indians, according to an independent hydrologist’s report, use only between 160 and 388 acre-feet a year of the valley’s water.

    Thus the question is: Why should county residents bear the brunt of having to pay for a pipeline that was created to serve Pojoaque Pueblo? Especially when the late federal judge Ed Mechem’s court findings were that the pueblo historically was entitled to less than 300 acre feet of water per year and it is now estimated that the pueblo uses about 2,000 acre feet per year on its casinos, hotels and golf courses. It’s obvious it is not the non-Indians who are threatening and stressing the aquifer.

    And, if folks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque think this pipeline is not going to affect them, those city slickers should think again. Let’s see who is going to get boisterous and raucous when they realize that the pipeline, off the already threatened Río Grande, is going to take an additional 4,000 acre feet of water.

    Just recently, folks down in Albuquerque were not only worried about their silvery minnow but also about whether there was even going to be any water left to divert. Anyone who has ever fly-fished northern stretches of the Río in September, October or November knows that you can almost wade it everywhere. As for Santa Fe County buying Top of the World Ranch water rights at the far north of New Mexico, it really is a joke. These are phony-baloney “paper water rights” without any real transferable wet water for your dog Fido or to wash your shorts.

    Then there is the real issue of trying to get correct estimates or figures as to how much this boondoggle is really going to cost the water users and county taxpayers per month, being that no credible design criteria were submitted as required by federal regulations. So how can you have a credible estimate? The construction of the pipeline for non-Indians may actually sink the settlement because of the fact that even in the county’s own poll a majority of the residents are opposed to it.

    One wonders why Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall are trying to shove this pipeline down our throats when there is so much opposition to it. Just like the capping of the wells was a ridiculous idea, so too is the pipeline to the non-Indians. A pipeline to the pueblos only would probably also cut the cost in half.

    Even if the $92 million set aside for Aamodt in this $4.6 billion dollar bill gets past the House, the estimated cost of the settlement of $286.2 million is a four-year-old figure. Where in the world is the state’s share of $50 million and $67 million from the county going to come from in this economy? You guessed it — in these hard economic times, from the already burdened taxpayer. The county, of course, without realizing a credible cost for the system, is saying it’s got lots of bonding capacity. Would you invest in bonds when it becomes apparent you may not get your money back? If you only have, let’s say, 30 percent of non-Indians hook up — and that’s a generous estimate — how in the world are you going to make the system viable? Who is going to bail out the county then, Messrs. Udall and Bingaman?

    And the cost of extending the pipeline to Bishop’s Lodge has not even been part of the equation. Who knows how many more millions this is going to cost and who is going to pay for it?

    Under the guise of settlement negotiations, instead of going to a real court, which were held behind closed doors and with a gag order, most citizens in this valley didn’t know what hit them. Even the few well-informed valley resident who attended these meetings were prohibited from discussing any of the negotiations with anyone not involved with Aamodt. What was so secret that reporters and the public could not attend, especially when it would have repercussions on the entire Río Grande drainage?

    Historically, when a real analysis has been made of the “legacy” of all participating and a resulting settlement has been made, if there ever is a settlement, it will probably be an indictment of one of the worst constitutional abuses ever and indeed a dark day for democracy.

    Writer/historian Orlando Romero may be reached at nambe1@aol.com.

  3. In the Capitol Report:
    http://www.capitolreportnewmexico.com/

    Aamodt water settlement critics blast proposed deal
    Posted by rnikolewski in New Mexico politics, News on November 30th, 2010

    Pojoaque River Valley

    Last week, we wrote how supporters of the Aamodt water rights settlement – the longest-running lawsuit in the federal court system — hope that the lame-duck Congress will finally wrap up 44 years of disputes by turning the agreement into law.

    With the US Senate approving the settlement by unanimous vote on Nov. 19, all that’s left is for the House of Representatives to reconcile their own legislation with the Senate’s and then for President Obama to sign the bill (which he says he will).

    All that has critics of the Aamodt agreement unhappy to say the least.

    We heard briefly from Aamodt supporter David Oritz in this post. Now here’s what some of the notable opponents have to say:

    Dick Rochester

    Dick Rochester of the Pojoaque Basin Water Alliance –

    “[The agreement] was on hold in the Senate and in order for it to come up for a vote it would have to be debated. And there was no room for debate in the lame duck session. It was then put in the omnibus bill … I think it’s typical of the irresponsibility on the legislators’ part to pass that thing. [Sen. Jeff] Bingaman and [Sen. Tom] Udall slipped it in so nobody would notice. I bet no more than one senator read the thing … They have absolutely no idea how much it’s going to cost.”

    Paul White, founding member of Valley Unity, a Pojoaque Valley neighborhood association –

    “This is a travesty of the highest order. The settlement was a sham, the passage of the bill by our elected representatives is deplorable, each and every one of them: Senator Bingaman, Senator Udall, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Governor Bill Richardson and Harry Montoya all refused to have town hall meetings before approval or seeking funding. It appears that casino money is doing the talking. This is truly a sad day for the Pojoaque Valley and the environment.
    “When they come after our unused water rights people will wonder how this happened. When each County taxpayer has to pay for an unpopular settlement they’ll want to know how this happened without transparency. Ask your County Commissioner Harry Montoya who approved the settlement in the middle of the night at a BCC meeting and refused to hold town hall meetings before approval and dismissed the County poll that showed a majority of his constituents were opposed because ‘they only needed to be educated.’ Harry spent a good deal of time in Washington lobbying for this, knowing his constituents were opposed. Take a look at the County poll and the PBWA position paper at: http://www.valleyunity.com. We still have no idea how the County or State will pay their portion of this settlement they committed to. These questions have never been answered.
    “When they aggressively start to go after our acequia rights and the valley is overrun by Airport Road like construction the people will wonder how it happened and wonder who is to blame but it will be too late. I encourage every taxpayer to contact your County Commissioner and complain bitterly about this transgression against us.”

    Orlando Romero

    Orlando Romero, historian, from Sunday commentary in Santa Fe New Mexican Nov. 28 –

    Why should county residents bear the brunt of having to pay for a pipeline that was created to serve Pojoaque Pueblo? Especially when the late federal judge Ed Mechem’s court findings were that the pueblo historically was entitled to less than 300 acre feet of water per year and it is now estimated that the pueblo uses about 2,000 acre feet per year on its casinos, hotels and golf courses. It’s obvious it is not the non-Indians who are threatening and stressing the aquifer.
    And, if folks in Santa Fe and Albuquerque think this pipeline is not going to affect them, those city slickers should think again. Let’s see who is going to get boisterous and raucous when they realize that the pipeline, off the already threatened Río Grande, is going to take an additional 4,000 acre feet of water.

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