#TX v. #NM and #Colorado at US Supreme Court — January 8, 2018

Map of the Rio Grande watershed, showing the Rio Chama joining the Rio Grande near Santa Fe. Graphic credit WikiMedia.

From SCOTUSblog (Ryke Longest):

On January 8, the Supreme Court will hear an original jurisdiction dispute among three states that share interests in the flows of the Rio Grande/Rio Bravo del Norte: Texas, Colorado and New Mexico. The congressionally approved Rio Grande Compact of 1938 apportioned water rights among these states. In 2014, the Supreme Court granted Texas’ motion for leave to file a complaint and the court’s appointed special master, A. Gregory Grimsal, has been working through preliminary matters since then. The United States filed a complaint in intervention against New Mexico as well. The upcoming argument focuses on the first interim report by the special master, which considered a motion to dismiss filed by New Mexico against the state of Texas and the United States and motions to intervene filed by an irrigation district and a water improvement district. On October 10, 2017, the court denied New Mexico’s motion to dismiss Texas’ complaint and denied the intervention motions by the two local water entities. The exception of the United States and the first exception of Colorado to the first interim report of the special master were set for oral argument, and those matters will be before the court on Monday, January 8, as part of an interstate-apportionment double header.

From KVIA.com (Kate Bieri):

New Mexico political and agricultural leaders will travel to Washington, D.C. for oral arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado on Monday.

The litigation at hand involves a decades-old dispute among states in the southwest: Water…

In 2008, EBID and its sister district in El Paso entered into an operating agreement that provided El Paso with extra water to make up for those impacts of pumping here in the Mesilla Valley, Faubion said. Texas sued New Mexico in 2013, alleging a violation of that agreement.

“Texas made it clear at the time that if they challenged the operating agreement, that Texas would feel obliged to go to the Supreme Court, and that is exactly what happened and that is exactly why we’re here where we are today,” Faubion said.

“This is a huge issue that could affect states all across the nation,” said Samantha Barncastle Salopek, General Counsel for the Elephant Butte Irrigation District.

Barncastle told ABC-7 that this could be a precedent-setting case because the federal government has moved to intervene in the dispute among states.

“What the United States has said is that they have enough of a federal interest in this contract, that even though they have not signed on to it, they’re not a party to the contract, they should still be allowed to come into this case and litigate as though they were a party to the contract,” Barncastle said.

Las Cruces city officials would not comment on the case because of pending litigation.

Elephant Butte Reservoir back in the day nearly full

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