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San Augustin Water Report Website
San Augustin Water Coalition
San Augustin Water Coalition (Facebook)
New Mexico Environmental Law Center

NM Water & Natural Resouces
San Augustin LLC website
Water Grabbing (Wiki)  

NM Environmental Law Center is supplying an attorney, Doug Meiklejohn, to fight the water grab.  Click here

Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas  

list and link to NM Water Resource Projects over the last 15 years
NM Water Resources Research Inst.  

Contra Santolina - 2015 Report: coalition of organizations opposing the Santolina development in Albuquerque  

La Jicarita - NM Enviro. news  
NM Environmental Law Center  
NM Conservation votes website  
State engineer website
Sustainable research center  

IDE - A private consultancy firm - watch for conflicts of interest. Click here

November 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...

More in The Chieftain  

Song about Augustine Plains  

Videos 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 rancher  

- Video 2 of 12 - Henry Edwards - local rancher  

- Video 3 of 12 - Anita Hand, Catron County Commissioner

WNRC 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  

Watch the 2nd district debate between Steve Pearce and Merrie Lee Soules here:


Feb. 7, 2016 - New geological report on the APR water. Click here

The Global Water Grab: A Primer  

Groundwater, Economic, and Legal Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from the San Augustin Basin of New Mexico. By - David J. Reese 2011  

NM Conference report in 2010 at Corbett Center: Water needs for the next decade - 2010

Ground water challenges of the lower Rio Grande: A case study of legal issues in TX and NM - Elizabeth Wheat Oct 2014

Interbasin transfer projects: Impacts on communities and ecosystems - Bruce Thomson- UNM 2010

1972 - HYDROGEOLOGY OF THE SAN AUGUSTIN PLAINS, NEW MEXICO An Independent Study Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Master of Science in Geology (approx May 1973  Click here  


NM Legislature document search on APR.
Click here

2012- Groundwater, Economic, and Legal
Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from
the San Agustin Basin of NM
Click here  

November 30 2015 -
Speech by APR CEO Michel Jichlinksi in 2013 to the Drought Sub-committee in Las Cruces -
- Jichlinski Report to the Drought Committee 
- Jichlinski APR project - "private-public partnership".pdf
- SWAC report to the Sub-Committee

2003 - Ground water law source book in western states  


2006 case studies: Right of way uses other than original intent.  

1990 - Mellon v Southern Pacific and MCI-right of way


Water fight continues; Neutral hydrogeologist weighs in..."The study, based on an analysis of existing data, groundwater models and data from three of EP's seven test wells, con-cluded that if the EP project continued pumping more than 1.8 billion gallons of water annually from the Middle Trinity Aquifer, local Well owners would see a negative impact on their residential wells."


May 2013 - Scientific American - Aquifers May Be Latest Casualty of Drought

U.S. water aquifer levels have been dropping at an accelerating rate for decades

2015 - Groundwater Challenges of the Lower Rio Grande: A Case Study of Legal Issues in Texas and New Mexico. Click here  

Feb. 7, 2016 - New geological report on the APR water. Click here

The Global Water Grab: A Primer  

Groundwater, Economic, and Legal Analysis of a Proposed Diversion from the San Augustin Basin of New Mexico. By - David J. Reese 2011  

NM Conference report in 2010 at Corbett Center: Water needs for the next decade - 2010

Ground water challenges of the lower Rio Grande: A case study of legal issues in TX and NM - Elizabeth Wheat Oct 2014

Interbasin transfer projects: Impacts on communities and ecosystems - Bruce Thomson- UNM 2010

1972 - HYDROGEOLOGY OF THE SAN AUGUSTIN PLAINS, NEW MEXICO An Independent Study Submitted In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Geology (approx May 1973  Click here  




March 9, 2017 -
Magdalena school board amends water grab protest... At the regularly scheduled Feb. 13 meeting the board had discussed in executive session withdrawing a letter filed with the Office of the State Engineer protesting the Augustin Plains Ranch LLC planned project to pump water from the San Augustin aquifer. Chieftain  

January 30, 2017 -
Here it comes - NM will attempt to turn over government agencies and projects to private for-profit companies... like charter schools, for example. More on these bills later: They will aid ARP in getting approval for the project with government support. Read the article below on National Security Projects.

Relating to public projects; enacting the public-private - partnerships act.... HB275 and

Related: P3 legislation was attempted in 2013 ...
HB405 under House Taxation & Revenue Committee.and HB560  and in 2015 HB299

January 27, 2017 -
There is a report floating around called the "Emergency & National Security Projects", (link below) in which APR is listed as one of 50 top national security projects.

Other projects in the report are massive and the patronage of the government.
Download the document here

Does it sound reasonable the Federal Government would be interested in a relatively small and very isolated private project?  Probably not, but it would be good to know how the APR ended up on the report.

What we know so far…

The story, originated with McClatchy DC, which is part of wider network of journalists who work in 14 states and 29 communities. Read the original story here  
Trump team compiles infrastructure priority list

The Albuquerque Journal picked up the story and on investigation pulled it, saying .. "The original post on was removed late Tuesday night after a Politico Pro report questioned the document's authenticity." ... The Journal called the White House: "It is not a White House policy document", White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said in an email ... responding to a Journal request for comment.

The Journal story is an important read to understand the sequence of events and latest information:
WH disavows infrastructure priorities document

McClatched followed up on the story with:
List of 50 infrastructure projects used by Trump transition team came from consulting firm  

PolitocoPro, mentioned above, may have originated the story and document, then backed off. As to PoliticoPro's reliability as a source of real news note that US Dept of Education wanted to buy a subscription to Politco Pro but did not....price tag too high and seemed to be based on "whatever the traffic would bear."

The complete story above for download

January 18, 2017 -
Water just like air is critical to our existence; we can’t live without it. Good potable groundwater is a quality of life essential. As a commodity its value varies with its
scarceness. Water laws governing water varies from state to state and country to country. People fight over water, states fight over water, and countries fight over water. Generally the rule for groundwater is that it is a defacto property right, if located under your land. In New Mexico the state controls groundwater through a permitting system by regulating the amount of withdrawal. However, if there are too many landowners vying for a limited amount of water the water is apportioned by need or a water master. So by its scarcity it has become more valuable. ...
Continue reading or Download the article 

January 17, 2017 -
New Mexico's Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds: Renewable Wealth from Non-Renewable Resources. ... New Mexico's Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds were constitutionally created to allow the state to save and invest the revenues it derives from the extraction of natural resources statewide. Those funds, responsibly invested, meet the dual goals of growing New Mexico's wealth and serving current and future generations of New Mexicans by funding public education. This type of system has been instituted in other states, provinces, and countries in the western United States, Canada, and abroad. Permanent funds elsewhere have achieved varying degrees of success. This article explores New Mexico's Land Grant and
Severance Tax Permanent Funds, evaluates such funds in other states, and presents lessons to be learned from those funds. Finally, this article proposes changes to New Mexico's funds based on these lessons, which would allow New Mexico to continue to meet and
exceed the dual goals of the Land Grant and Severance Tax Permanent Funds.
Complete areticle in the Summer 2008 Natural Resources Journal  

January 17, 2017 -
Severance compensation - This is not royalties that go to the State to compensate for using the States oil and gas resources.

Who does it go to?

How is it going to help the people who no longer have water?

Why is okay to takes one’s livelihood away so others can benefit at their expense?

Is the collapse of a community justifiable so that others can profit from a taking of a water resource?

Why would the State Engineer consider this course of action a way forward in granting this application?

Water is not equivalent to oil and gas as it is already is being put to a beneficial use and has senior rights
to its use over the junior rights of the LLC.

(See January 18, 2017 above, What is Water Worth?)
Download the above

January 17, 2017-
SENATE BILL 86 ... 2017 -
AN ACT Relating to water Rights Notifications, Requiring the Office of the State engineer to Post Notices On-line. Download SB86 Bill  
 NM Legislature Link  

January 17, 2017 -
NM Legislation 2017 -
Requesting the Interstate Stream Commission to Convene a Task Force to Make recommendations to Correct Deficiencies in State and Regional Water Planning Programs and Processes. Full Bill Here
NM Legislation original weblink.

Related: August 15, 2015 - Analysis: Weaknesses mar NM’s capital outlay system.   Click here

January 13, 2017 -
NM State Engineer: “You know, do we need to be looking at something like a severance tax on that water?”

Is an elaborate proposal to pump thousands of acre feet of water 150 miles to Albuquerque .... from the Augustin Plains Ranch (APR) in Catron and Socorro counties about to trigger a new policy for large scale water sales in New Mexico, treating water like oil and gas – including severance compensation as a political sweetener for such a deal?  The Candle Publishing  

January 10, 2017 -
No Right to Free Water, Except for Nestlé. ... former Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck is famous for denying that access to drinking water is a human right. But based on the company’s actions, its management seems to believe that Nestlé Corporation has a human right to free water.  CounterPunch  

January 9, 2017 - Whose water is it?

When you apply for a water right or a permit for a well from the State of New Mexico, it is assumed that there is water available for diversion. If there are no other wells or surface diversions in your vicinity then there will not be a likelihood of a protest. However, if there are other diversions close to your proposed diversion, those diversions would have prior existing rights over your application.

You would have to state how you are going to put this water to a beneficial use. The State Engineer would then evaluate your application to see if it meets the required standards for a permit to drill.

If you knew that the existing wells in your area were shallow and you wanted to put in a deeper well to ensure that you got all the water that was granted under your application, the neighboring well owners could challenge your application stating that you would be impairing their water right of prior appropriation and the fact that you could be over drafting the common aquifer and cause their well or wells to go dry. The State Engineer could respond, ‘that their wells are not going to be impaired and that those wells could always be drilled deeper’. This concept is a result of the Tom Morrison paper “Guidelines for the Assessment of Drawdown Estimates” Feb. 2006. Of course this could be a remedy; if it did not create a financial burden on the owners of the prior existing water rights. What if the existing wells were only about 200 feet deep and your well is 2,000 feet deep?  Would a 1,500 foot difference in depths be considered impairment? This is a major difference and could cost the original water right holders many hundreds of thousands of dollars to just compete with your well. Isn’t this also considered a type of impairment “financial in nature”?

The problem is that water generally flows down gradient, so that the water you are pumping that lies under your property; when pumped long enough and at much lower depth will cause the adjacent landowners water to flow toward your well over time. This gradient flow is the result of the cone of depression created at your well point. The bottom line is that you are mining your neighbor’s water.  If this occurred in the oil patch , a law suit would follow claiming a taking and you would have to pay for the oil you should not have pumped along with damages. It is too bad that this does not apply to water, a taking is a taking. So the question arises as to whose water is it?

 In New Mexico the water belongs to the state and you have permission under the permit system to only pump what you have been allocated under that permit. If you do not use the water that has been allocated the state can reduce your allocation to reflect what you are actually using. This practice is very common when a watershed or an area under goes adjudication. Adjudication is where all the water users in an area undergoing adjudication have their water use history researched and if the people cannot verify their water use they may wind up having their amount of water use reduced. This may seem harsh but once the water has been adjudicated the amount of water granted is yours in perpetuity.

So if the water in the state is the state’s water do whatever they wish with it; except where there are water compacts with other state’s that they otherwise obligated to comply with. Can the state just give it away to the highest bidder or to people that know how to play the political game of saying that the water is to be used for the greater good of the state’s residents. This is the case where there are winners and there are losers. In most cases the losers are residents in the rural areas of the state. This is the case where a major development in the Albuquerque area (Santolina Project) that is proposed but not yet approved, is trying to get water from the San Augustin Plains at the expense of the residents that live there.

Well again I come back to whose water is it? If you remember that, “water is life, if you control the one you control the other.” So water is a political pawn that is played with by the rich and influential to their financial gain and the end user is non-consequential.
Dennis Inman - Geologist -
Download the comment

Guidelines for the Assessment of Drawdown

- Basic Groundwater Hydrology and Evaluation Porcedures - Training Manual

January 6, 2017 -
Business group lists priorities for legislative session...
Of particular interest is privatization of wate, and the support ... creation of public-private partnerships to develop water infrastructure that will provide public benefits, such as economical infrastructure project delivery and water conservation. NM Politics  

Beyond the Mirage The Future of Water in the West - Video on YouTube  

January 5, 2017 -
The Great Public Land Heist Has Begun

Without demonstrable public will and with strong opposition from environmentalists, hunters, anglers, the Department of the Interior, and the outdoor recreation industry, among others, Republican lawmakers are attempting to transfer control of your public lands from federal to state governments in a thinly-veiled attempt to force their sale for purposes of resource exploitation. Now, the first blow has been struck. -

Under current Congressional Budget Office accounting rules, any transfer of federal land that generates revenue for the U.S. Treasury - whether through energy extraction, logging, grazing or other activities - has a cost. If lawmakers wanted to give such land to a state, local government or tribe, they would have to account for that loss in expected cash flow.

The immediate impact of the rules change is that lawmakers cannot raise a budgetary point of order if a land transfer bill comes to the floor. Under existing House rules, any measure that costs the U.S. Treasury money must be offset by either budget cuts or a revenue-raising provision.

The culprit, UT Congressman Rob Bishop:
"Bishop's initial act upon his appointment as Chairman Natural Resources was his decision to hire several oil and gas industry officials to work on the subcommittee that oversees oil and gas leases on public lands. Press coverage that highlights industry insiders working for the chairman contributes to the impression that Washington D.C.’s revolving door is alive and well at the Natural Resources Committee...."
Rest of the story - WestWise  :

115THCONGRESS - 1ST SESSION - H. RES. 5. The Bill, HR-115  

Related News Articles:

April 9, 2015 - Republicans just voted to sell off your national forests    Gizmo  

January 3, 2017 - House GOP rules change will make it easier to sell off federal land  WaPo  

January 4, 2017 - Selling off public lands. The House rule change that went unnoticed.  DailyKos  

October 18, 2016 - Ute Tribe declares political war with Rep. Rob Bishop. SLTrib  

June 22, 2016 -
House bill to sell national forests passes committee

The above article here