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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 22 posts ] 
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 Author: Kyle
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:26 pm 
I'm responding to Crow's posting of this event and his request, "Please let me know if there are any specific issues or topics you’d like to see addressed."

I’m curious to know more about the diversion of the Gila into the proposed Grant County Reservoir near Ft. Bayard re the following quote from the PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING REPORT, GRANT COUNTY TIER 2 AWSA APPLICATION REVIEW, DECEMBER 2013, Prepared For: State of New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission
“The reservoir will be filled with NMAWSA water from the Gila River through a proposed pipeline in the public right-of-way for Highway 180. A pipeline extension will be required from Highway 180 to the Grant County reservoir. That pipeline would be approximately 4,400 linear feet in length, and based on a flow of 3,000 AFY (1,857 gpm) and a maximum velocity of 5 fps, it would be 14 inches in diameter. This pipeline is discussed in greater detail under the “Recommended Alternative” section of this report.” - Section IV Page 16 of 22

Here is the link to the report: http://nmawsa.org/ongoing-work/bhi-dive ... nd-storage
Kyle Meredith
Silver City


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 7:18 am 
The Twin Sisters Reservoir, aka Lake Ramos, was originally planned to store Bayards treated effluent and would use no Gila River water. Bayard found other ways to handle it's waste water so I thought this project was over. Then the ISC presented us with their own new alternative, use Gila water and add a pipeline to bring that water to the Twin Sisters project. This was not a proposal from the four counties, this came from the ISC. This earthen dam over heavily populated areas is considered a high risk dam.

On Friday Jan 10, 2014 the ISC gave us 600 pages on their new plans for several diversion projects in the Cliff/Gila Valley. It will cost taxpayers MILLIONS! The preferred alternative price tag is $348,582,000 the highest price tag is $468,851,000 and these are only construction costs. We, the tax payers, would be liable for all ongoing maintenance and upkeep, in perpetuity! We would also be responsible for evaporation from the reservoirs. They estimate this may be as high as 6000 acre feet each year.

The Federal funding would cover just $128 Million. Conservation alternatives would be completely covered by the original $66 million, at no cost to taxpayers.


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 Author: digitalwiz
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:39 am 
And don't forget, we'd also have to buy the water.


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 12:20 pm 
Yes, digitalwiz is correct the water is not ours, it still belongs to it's senior water rights owners. Nope that's not us. So we must pay them for any water taken from the Gila River and also any that would evaporate from the proposed reservoir.
Apparently we have a "diversion to no one". The ISC documents call him the "End user". Never has there been an end user designated. No one has ever come forward to buy any of the water.

The ISC dumped a 600 page report in our laps last Friday. We now have cost estimates that are truly beyond belief. And the preferred diversion would flood up to six small side canyons in the Upper Gila. This is the year the ISC makes their recommendations to the Governor on whether to divert the Gila River or choose the common sense conservation proposals. These proposals would not cost the taxpayers one single cent.


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 Author: Kyle
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:27 am 
I have some comments and questions concerning the AWSA meeting last night (Monday, 13 Jan) in Cliff. Although I have not attended previous meetings, I was able to peruse the two most recent reports which the presenters covered. My concern for attending was having heard only a few days before about a plan to dam Twin Sisters Creek near Ft. Bayard.

The presentations followed very closely the information I gleaned from my reading of the reports. I thought the alternatives were presented very clearly, and the presenters seemed to be trying to answer the questions to the best of their ability. I think I have an adequate understanding of the proposals and costs of the projects covered. I personally favor the least invasive alternatives, which do not channel the water from the Gila over the continental divide. I am skeptical that any of these proposals are sound planning for use of the Gila.

What I don’t understand, and what seemed to be deliberately unanswered, is who is going to pay the costs? The unhelpful answer repeated many times was, “the end users.” I suppose the more cogent question (which I was unable to ask) is: Who is going to choose which project to pursue, and how is it going to be funded? In my probably naïve conjecturing, I have come up with two possibilities.

First, that the ISC decides which proposal they want to see enacted, and that they will approach the state legislature for the necessary funds (from what source, I have no clue.) The other possibility I can imagine is that the affected counties and/or towns vote on bond issues (or the like) to fund a project chosen by the commissioners.

I don’t know how this works. That’s the question I’m asking. My concern is that our communities are going to be saddled with an enormous debt for constructing and maintaining a questionable plan that is likely ultimately unable to fulfill its intention.

I have many other concerns and questions about exactly who “the end users” are, but for now I’d be happy for a clarification of who chooses and how it is funded.
Thank you very much.
Kyle Meredith
Silver City


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 Author: Ski
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 7:51 pm 
Kyle, you are correct that it is the Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) who will select the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) project or projects (including, maybe, a combination of them). (You may already know, but the ISC is a 9-member body, all of whom are appointed by the governor. Eight of the ISC members come from around the state to serve terms of either four or six years, and the ninth member of the Commission is the State Engineer, who serves as ISC secretary.)

And as you saw and heard last night, the $128 million federal grant available to NM under the AWSA to develop a diversion and storage of Gila River water falls short of the official estimated costs by hundreds of millions of dollars.

As to who will pay those unfunded hundreds of millions of dollars, I don't mean to sound trite, but that's the 200+ million dollar question, isn't it? The state certainly doesn't have that kind of money to wager on a highly dubious project where no less than 25-30% of the water--and the costs of that water--evaporate into the atmosphere only to fall down as rain, say in Texas. (Image balloons, here, lots and lots of balloons, with $1,000 bills attached to them just floating off up into the air, only to rain down on Texas.)

While ISC representative Craig Roepke keeps saying "the end user" in answer to that question, my fear is that those hundreds of millions of dollars needed to bring a diversion to fruition will somehow be pawned off to...you and me and every other tax-paying New Mexican--if this diversion folly is allowed to proceed.

Which is one of the reasons why we all need to lobby our state legislators and the governor to urge them to oppose a diversion. One way to do that is to sign the online petition to Governor Martinez at: http://www.change.org/petitions/susana-martinez-governor-of-new-mexico-protect-the-gila-river-by-supporting-non-diversion-alternatives.

Another way to do that is to call NM State Senator Howie Morales (575-574-0043) and thank him for coming out against an AWSA diversion of the Gila. But also urge him to use his influence with other NM legislators in opposing a diversion.

I hope others on this forum can also help to answer your questions, Kyle.

_________________
Nothing will be well until we learn to live in harmony with the power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work. -~Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, 1863–1950.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:39 pm 
I hope that someone who attended the ISC meeting at the Cliff High School continues this discussion of starts with a new article with anything new.


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 Author: digitalwiz
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:04 pm 
I'm curious. What's the ISC's motivation for pushing this diversion nonsense? Do they honestly believe it's the right thing to do? Are they just trying to get an extra $62 million to "pump up" the economy of southwest New Mexico? Is it that they're engineers and that's what engineers do?

Thoughts?


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 Author: Ski
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 9:27 pm 
digitalize asked: Is it that they're engineers and that's what engineers do?

Yes, the ISC is in the business of developing water.

Plus, there's federal AWSA subsidy money on the table. $128 million all told. $66 million of it can be used to fund projects that meet water supply demands in the 4 dirt-poor southwestern NM counties of Catron, Grant, Hidalgo & Luna -- but that would mean $66m less the state would have of the $128m AWSA fed grant to develop a diversion project. In other words, if the state elected to use the $66m for non-diversion projects in these 4 counties, which they have every right under the AWSA to elect to do--and should do as I see it--that would mean they'd be walking away from the other $62m of the $128m AWSA subsidy.

_________________
Nothing will be well until we learn to live in harmony with the power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work. -~Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, 1863–1950.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:39 am 
It has become clear that the advocates of diversion have two basic psychological urges - to not "lose the water to Arizona", and to "get all the money" available from the AWSA. On the surface, those are two apparently reasonable and practical thoughts. However, only an objective financial analysis can determine if the cost of not losing the water or the extra money is lower, or higher, than the actual value of the water and the money.

Opponents of diversion have been asking since the beginning of the AWSA process what it will cost to not lose the water or the extra money, which could have been estimated six or seven years ago. The ISC has consistently avoided getting close to such accounting, and it only just now being forced to put those cards on the table. As presented in posts above, those cards are not a winning hand - upfront costs are huge, operations and maintenance costs are high, losses are astounding, and there is no willing buyer for the expensive water. In short, it will cost far too much to not lose the water or the money. All this was predicted, but was diligently ignored by the ISC.

Another as yet unproven motive on the part of the State may be political, having to do with legal troubles around Texas' claims to water that is supposed to flow out of New Mexico. The State may be planning to use Gila River water to alleviate Rio Grande shortfalls. There may be some very politically powerful interests lobbying for that outcome.


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 Author: Joanie
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 11:04 am 
My suspicion is that in addition to the motivations mentioned above, another purpose of the pipeline is to provide a cheap way for Freeport-McMoRan to sell water from our aquifer to Deming and Las Cruces.

Freeport-McMoRan has water rights that they don't use, especially during down times. I recall someone saying that they had been asked to sell these water rights to the state or county, but refused, even though there is no way they will ever need this much water, because they intend to sell their water, which comes from the same aquifer that supplies water to much of our area.

If they had a convenient water pipeline right next door. they could rent it during times the Gila is low, and sell their water to Deming, if not other towns below them. Big money.

This is all conjecture, but I've always seen the way to the root of corruption is to follow the money. I'd love to know if there's any evidence for or against this theory.


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 Author: sh1
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 12:43 pm 
I suspect all of the above conjectures about ISC motivation are accurate. Once a massive siphon/reservoir/pipeline system is in place, or even a substantial part of it, then future ways of making use of that investment will inevitably emerge, likely with overwhelming political power behind them. We live in a desert, and the longstanding European attitude toward water, especially where it's scarce, has been to industrialize it. ISC and their supporters see the Gila as already compromised, and they believe they can siphon off a lot of water without doing all that much damage to the environment. And they're willing to accept whatever damage might occur in the interest of maximizing the retention of precious surface water, with the tempting potential of transferring much larger quantities of subsurface water to the Rio Grande basin in the fullness of time. And they assume somebody will find the money to do all that, regardless of how wasteful it might seem looked at just in terms of the 14,000 acre feet from the AWSA.

Shelby


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 Author: Nancy Kaminski
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 2:22 pm 
Speaking of forces from afar makes me ever more certain about working to make sure our reps hear from more of us. Ignore the ones who support diversions, focus on those on the fence or ignorant of the issue.
Last weekend Howie Morales stated his opposition to diverting the Gila River. Make sure he hears from you with congratulations and campaign donations if you can afford them.
Besides the reps, our fellow New Mexicans need to hear about our local struggle. Citizens support statewide would be much harder for anyone to ignore.
The politics of this issue could go either way. If a statewide voice said no to diverting the Gila River wouldn't it be bad for a candidate to support one?
I also agree that greed has much to do with this. Over the years I have heard many people say they want it all, the full $128 million and all the water we can get. I'm not sure how to deal with that much greed.


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 Author: Kyle
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:20 am 
In my recent emails with Craig Roepke, he has always been cordial and concise in answering my questions. In reply to my query about who is to pay, he referred me to the AWSA library where I found the following page: from the stakeholders HERE who are, as I understand it, the end users—i.e. those who are to pay. I haven’t had time to examine the list, but I pass it on to those who might be interested. I’m hoping it will provide some clarity to this discussion.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:25 pm 
That would be a Roepke style dodge.

I don't know of a single stakeholder who has any idea how much the water would cost, much less has committed to buying the water produced from the diversion schemes.

Put another way, I don't know of a single buyer.

Mr. Roepke could have been transparent, as well as cordial, and stated simply that no one has been identified who will buy the water.


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 Author: Ski
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:49 pm 
In short, the powers that be have been disingenuous about "who pays". At the Interim Water and Natural Resources Committee meeting at the Grant Co. Convention Center in 2012, the director of the Interstate Stream Commission, Estevan López, said that they would be asking the legislature for funding. Craig Roepke says the end users need to pay. So we got two answers out of the same water development agency from the 2 top water buffalos.

The cost is so high, who knows if the end users will be able or willing to pay is the follow up question.

Who are the end users? Farmers, Deming, Las Cruces?????
What will be the final cost to the end users? Who knows?
Can those end users pay for the water or will they be willing to pay? Who knows?

So, who pays? Me still thinks the bill for this folly will, by hook or by crook, be pawned off onto New Mexican taxpayers.

_________________
Nothing will be well until we learn to live in harmony with the power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work. -~Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, 1863–1950.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:21 pm 
This is the stuff of a classic boondoggle.


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 Author: Ski
PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 1:38 pm 
And this just in:

Senator Peter Wirth Proposes Legislation to Protect Taxpayers from a Costly Gila River Diversion HERE

_________________
Nothing will be well until we learn to live in harmony with the power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work. -~Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, 1863–1950.


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 Author: Kyle
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:17 am 
For some reason, the link I intended to include in my last post didn’t make it. Here it is, click HERE

These are the Tier 2 Final Proposals that show exactly who proposes to do what with the Gila watershed. It might be too much information to digest all in one whack, but if you have time to understand what is there I think it contains important information applicable to understanding the specifics of what’s being considered. Reading the PRELIMINARY ENGINEERING REPORT, GRANT COUNTY TIER 2 AWSA APPLICATION REVIEW, DECEMBER 2013 (http://nmawsa.org/ongoing-work/bhi-dive ... nd-storage) might be helpful for determining which proposals are most pertinent. If you haven’t been to either link, I think you will be interested.


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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:05 am 
Your link is there as are Ski's but for some reason we've never understood, when the raw links appear in the first paragraph they can kill much of the "Newsletter" where everything after them is cut from the "Newsletter". But even this is unpredictable so when i see a problem or potential problem I'll go in and "Nest" the link in a sentence with the capital HERE or "click HERE" indicating that the link is HERE.


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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 11:22 am 
Kyle Wrote ..."These are the Tier 2 Final Proposals that show exactly who proposes to do what with the Gila watershed. ...what is there I think it contains important information applicable to understanding the specifics of what’s being considered."

It is interesting, but does not address who will be the end user - meaning who will actually pay for the water and all of the costs. I saw a reference, "would benefit the Gila Valley", but no particulars on how that would unfold in reality. I attended a meeting of farm and ranch interests over a year ago where a staff person for the ISC was interviewing potential agricultural end users. After an interesting discussion, it was determined that the estimated cost of the water (estimated by the end users), coupled with likely unreliability of supply (the high dollar crops being discussed are long-term investments, like grapes, that cannot tolerate any hiccup in watering), created a set of conditions that precluded probable use by the ag community. I haven't seen that information published anywhere... why not?

The economic equation is simple: cost of the water has to be less than the value of the benefits produced. I think that early ballpark estimates of the result of that equation would have indicated to any reasonable person that the diversion schemes won't be economical viable.

If you add triple-bottom-line benefit cost analysis, the costs would be even more out of whack. Why wasn't any such preliminary economic work been done? I suspect it is because it would have blown the diversion options out of the water (chuckle) at the beginning.


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 Author: gila honey
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 3:51 pm 
URGENT ACTION NEEDED - Your County Commission is set to vote on your water future. Your voice can make the difference!!

The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission finalized the Joint Powers Agreement for the New Mexico CAP Entity on June 9th. The NM CAP entity will be responsible for the design, construction operation and maintenance of a diversion of Gila and/or San Francisco River water.

NOW the Interstate Stream Commission is asking your local governing bodies to sign the Joint Powers Agreement and join the NM CAP Entity. There has been no independent analysis showing that the proposed New Mexico Unit is financially or physically feasible. Why would your city or county want to sign on to an agreement without being fully informed?

Your elected officials are scheduled to take public comment and/or vote on the following dates and times:

Vote, Grant County Commission, 1400 Hwy 180 E, Silver City--June 25th 9:00 AM

Here's how you can make a difference:
Please contact your elected official now (contact info below) and urge them to: "Vote NO or delay the vote until full information is provided about the project's physical feasibility, its cost, the amount of water it will yield, and how much local taxpayers and ratepayers will have to pay to build and operate the project."

Attend the county commission and city council meetings when your elected officials will be voting.
Help spread the word - forward this e-mail to your friends and colleagues.
--

Grant County Commission:
Commissioner District 1, Gabe Ramos, gramos@grantcountynm.com, 575-574-0021
Commissioner District 2 and Chairman, Brett Kasten, bakasten@grantcountynm.com, 575-574-0022
Commissioner District 3, Ron Hall, rhall@grantcountynm.com, 575-574-0023

_________________
Gary

"All you need is LOVE"


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