Billion Dollar Gila River Diversion Off the Table

This week the state agency in charge of building a diversion on the Gila River has scaled down plans for capturing the river’s water. The agency’s decision might mean good news for project critics who feared its environmental consequences and high cost. But many questions remain around how much money the state has to build the project, the location and scale of the diversion, and who would buy the water once it’s built.

Are we tipping back to La Niña?

At a water conference at UNM last Friday, Dr. David Gutzler brought some bad news: Not only did El Niño bring less moisture than anticipated, La Niña may be on its way back. It’s still early to say that those warmer, dryer conditions are heading to the Southwest, but it’s clear that there’s no end to the state’s water management challenges.

Snapshot: New Mexico 2016 Regional Water Plans

The following list provides key data related to 16 regional water districts in New Mexico, and a link to a draft water plan for each region. The draft plans are part of a years-long process to develop both regional and a comprehensive state water plan for New Mexico. More information can be found on the website of the State Engineer. Also read New Mexico In Depth’s accompanying story, Regional water plans reveal sobering future. Region 1: Northeast New Mexico Region

Counties include: Union, Harding, Quay, Curry, Roosevelt
Size: 9,700 square miles
Population: 84,278
Per capita income range: $18,086 (Roosevelt County) – $21,179 (Curry County)
Primary source of water: 87% comes from groundwater
Total annual water use: 528,448 acre-feet per year
Primary water use in region: 89% of total water usage goes toward agriculture
Read the Region 1 draft water plan.