Tell your elected officials “NO” to $1B Gila diversion boondoggle

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Local governments claim they want a 

Gila River diversion, but won’t commit to paying for it 

Tell your elected official “No” to billion-dollar Gila diversion boondoggle!

June 18, 2015

After weeks of negotiations, the NM Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) approved last week a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) to form the NM CAP Entity that will be responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the billion-dollar Gila River diversion project.

As part of the negotiations at last week’s meeting, local parties to the JPA refused to make a commitment to finance the project, although the ISC made it clear that the NM Unit will not be built without local financing.

In the face of a threatened revolt by local interests, the ISC removed language that would have required a local commitment to fund the project.  ISC Commissioner Mark Sanchez, however, voiced concern that parties to the JPA would not understand that they would have to pay into the project eventually. “Local communities are fooling themselves if they don’t think they’re going to have to provide some funding themselves.” He said that tens of millions of dollars could be spent designing and planning a project that may never go forward.

Local governments want it both ways. They want the diversion project, yet are trying to avoid being on the hook for the billion-dollar bill. The ISC and Bureau of Reclamation have made it clear that local communities will have to cover the huge costs of the Gila River diversion.

By moving forward with this charade, tens of millions of dollars will be wasted on consultants and engineers to design a diversion project that is technically, financially and environmentally infeasible.  AWSA funding could otherwise be spent now on cost-effective non-diversion projects that will meet southwest New Mexico’s future water needs for a tenth the cost of the billion-dollar diversion.

Over the next few weeks, local governments will be voting on resolutions to sign the JPA and join the NM CAP Entity.

Please contact your elected officials and tell them that the NM CAP Entity JPA is bad for our local communities.  Attend upcoming county commission and city council meetings and tell them to vote “NO” on the JPA.  Demand that your local officials don’t slam the door shut on funding for cost-effective community water projects. 

  • The JPA commits NM CAP Entity parties to a $1 billion diversion project that is technically infeasible, is expensive and unaffordable, and is unnecessary given that non-diversion alternatives can reliably meet water supply needs at a small fraction of the cost of a diversion.
  • By signing onto the JPA, NM CAP Entity parties may issue bonds and levy taxes and user fees on water users to pay for the costs of the NM Unit. The Arizona Water Settlements Act subsidy of $100M won’t cover the full cost of the NM Unit, leaving a gap of $900+ million for taxpayers and water users to cover.
  • The JPA prohibits any additional allocation of funds from the NM Unit Fund to cost-effective non-diversion alternatives.
  • The JPA will allow an additional NM Unit on the San Francisco River that will increase costs and expand the footprint of environmental degradation.  The ISC stated at its May 7  meeting that a second NM Unit on the San Francisco River is likely given the potential for “severe environmental problems” from a Gila River diversion.

Your elected officials are scheduled to take public comment and/or vote on the following dates and times:

Silver City Town Council, 1400 Hwy 180 East, Silver City

  • Public Comment and Vote – June 23rd, 6:00 pm, Agenda

Luna County Commission, 700 S. Silver Avenue, Deming

  • Public Comment – June 24th 6:00 – 7:30 PM
  • Vote – June 24th, 7:30 PM

Grant County Commission, 1400 Hwy 180 E, Silver City

  • Public Comment and Vote – June 25th, 9:00 AM
Deming City Council, 309 S. Gold St., Deming
  • Written public input, Deming City Council, c/o Aaron Sera, Clerk– thru June 26th, noon:
  • Vote –July 2nd, 9:00 AM

Silver City Town Council

Mayor: Mike Morones, 534-6346

Council Member, District 1: Cynthia Bettison, 597-7031

Council Member, District 2: Lynda Aiman-Smith,,(575) 519-1680

Council Member, District 3: Jose Ray, Jr., 313-5116

Council Member, District 4: Guadalupe “Lupe” Cano,, (575)597-7034

Luna County Commission:

Joe “Oleo” Milo, joe_milo@lunacountynm.us575-546-0494

Linda Smrkovsky, linda_smrkovsky@lunacountynm.us575-494-0512

Javier Diaz,  rjavier_diaz@lunacountynm.us575-936-6446


Grant County Commission:

Commissioner District 1, Gabe Ramos, gramos@grantcountynm.com575-574-0021

Commissioner District 2, Chairman, Brett Kasten, bakasten@grantcountynm.com575-574-0022

Commissioner District 3, Ron Hall,, 575-574-0023


Deming City Council:

Mayor: Benny. L Jasso, bjasso@cityofdeming.org575-546-8848

Council Member: District 1: David L. Sanchez, dsanchez505@q.com575-546-3155

Council Member: District 2: Roxana Rincon, deming@cityofdeming.org575-546-8848

Council Member: District 3: Joe Milo,, 575-546-7385

Council Member: District 4: Victor Cruz, valuedmedicalcare@gmail.com575-546-8848