This month, more than 300 New Mexico business owners and leaders across the state sent a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez asking her to reject expensive and unpopular water diversion projects as she decides on best approaches to secure southwestern New Mexico’s future water supply and to instead consider cost-effective, common sense alternatives.
The letter comes as the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission weighs options to divert water from the Gila River, a project permitted by the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004.
There are many reasons to reject any form of a Gila diversion project. Any such project is an incredibly expensive undertaking. The price tag is estimated to be exorbitant – well over $300 million and for that we will get only a short-term fix.
After utilizing the money allotted for the project by the Arizona Water Settlements Act, New Mexico taxpayers and water-users are still stuck with a bill of approximately $200 million dollars. Adding in the annual operation and maintenance costs of a diversion will cost taxpayers another several million dollars per year.