A new poll conducted to find out the sentiments of New Mexico voters on the state’s water issues reveals that New Mexicans are gravely concerned about the health of rivers, believe that rivers are critical to quality of life, and reject the concept of river diversions in favor of non-diversion.
Moreover, a large majority of New Mexico voters oppose the controversial Gila River diversion project in favor of long-term solutions that protect rivers. These findings should be of great interest to Gov. Susana Martinez as she is faced with complex decisions about the future of water in New Mexico.
At this time, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission is considering whether to use federal funding under the Arizona Water Settlements Act to divert 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila River or to pursue non-diversion conservation alternatives. After a history of three failed attempts to dam and divert the Gila over the past 50 years, New Mexico voters have been asked through this poll whether or not they support a diversion project.
Their responses are clear. The poll, conducted by Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies, illuminates six big-picture findings that bear on any discussion about shaping water policy in New Mexico: