The Gila River is an amazing ecological treasure, supporting not only endangered fish, such as the loach minnow and spikedace, but more than 300 species of birds and wildlife, ranging from mountain lions to bighorn sheep to Mexican wolves.
The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission is considering diversion projects that would take Gila River water and pump it over the Continental Divide to urban areas, such as Deming and Las Cruces, for agricultural or municipal use.
This diversion is expensive, with estimated costs ranging from $300 to $500 million— $200 to $350 million of which would be shouldered by taxpayers and water users. In addition, New Mexicans would have to pay millions of dollars each year to Arizona to use Gila River water and to maintain the diversion, pipeline, and storage infrastructure.
The good news is that an expensive Gila River diversion is unnecessary. Southwest New Mexico’s water needs can be met cost effectively by using water more wisely through conservation measures, including municipal and agricultural conservation, sustainable groundwater management, water recycling, and waste water reduction.
Tell the Chairman of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Jim Dunlap, that water diversion projects are too costly for the environment and for taxpayers. New Mexico must embrace water conservation to meet future water needs and keep the Gila River flowing strong.