Friday, December 06, 2019
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Pecos Valley Artesian Concervacy District

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BY Bill Netherlin, Chairman, PVACD


                For the past seven decades, the PVACD has worked to preserve and protect the waters of Southeastern New Mexico. Through its management and advocacy, the PVACD has assured its citizens of the sustainability of the Roswell Artesia Basin and the Pecos River. Although originally created to conserve and manage the ground water of the Roswell Artesia Basin, the PVACD has actively played a role in the adjudication of the surface waters of the Pecos River and its tributaries, including the Rio Ruidoso, Rio Bonito, and Hondo River. Through PVACD’s efforts, the Roswell Artesia Basin continues to be recognized as one of the best managed aquifers in the world.

                Through the leadership of the PVACD a historic settlement agreement was reached between the State of New Mexico, the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the Carlsbad Irrigation District, and the PVACD. As a result of the settlement agreement, the citizens of the PVACD, including the residents of Roswell, Dexter, Hagerman, Lake Arthur, Aretsia, parts of Chave county, and northern Eddy County, are assured that the possibility of a water right priority call have been largely eliminated. Through the establishment of augmentation well fields at Lake Arthur and Seven Rivers, the settlement agreement ensures the residents of the Carlsbad Irrigation District a reliable source of water for their irrigation needs. Finally, and equally as important, the residents of southeastern New Mexico and the State of New Mexico are given an additional method in meeting the requirement of the Pecos River Compact with the State of Texas.  

                The citizens of southeastern New Mecico are now faced with another threat to the delivery of water to our area and the Texas State line. A for-profit corporation has made application with the New Mexico State Engineer to take water by pipeline from a well field next to the Pecos River at Fort Sumner to the Santa Fe area and other areas along the Rio Grande. The PVACD has protested the proposed application because, if granted, the transfer of the water will seriously reduce and impair the flow of the Pecos River, thus, affecting the delivery of water to the Carlsbad Irrigation District and to Texas for the Pecos River Compact delivery. The proposed transfer of the water will also have a detrimental impact upon the ecological balance of the river and its inhabitants, including the Pecos River Shiner and other protected species upon the reaches of the River, including Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and Bottomless Lakes State Park.

                The proposed transfer of the water to northern New Mexico also poses a serious threat to the economic well being of the region. Once the water is lost to the cities of northern New Mexico, it will never be returned to the area. The corporation seeking to transfer the water has submitted that the transfer of the waters to the cities of northern New Mexcio will be a financial benefit to the Fort Sumner area. The only financial benefit to the transfer of the water rights is to the corporation seeking the transfer and the cities of northern New Mexico.

                The PVACD will continue to take the leadership role in protesting this latest attack on the waters of the Pecos River system. In addition, the PVACD will continue in its day-to-day role of protecting and conserving the surface and ground water of this area, our most valued resource.

**For further information contact Bill Netherlin, Chairman, Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District, 575-622-7000.


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Contact PVACD

P. O. Box 1346 Roswell, NM 88202
Phone: (575) 622-7000 Fax: (575) 622-7001