Originating in America’s first designated wilderness area, New Mexico’s Gila River is a biological gem. Its riparian forests boast one of the highest concentrations of breeding birds in the country — including rare yellow-billed cuckoos — and its waters sustain the endangered loach minnow, spike dace and Gila trout. The Gila is also a mainstay for the area’s recreation economy.
After three previous failed attempts to dam and divert this iconic southwestern river, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission and local New Mexico CAP Entity are planning the Gila River diversion project — a billion-dollar boondoggle that could destroy the river as we know it.
The New Mexico Unit Agreement must be signed by the NM CAP Entity and Secretary Jewell by November 23rd.
We need your help NOW to urge Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to save the Gila River once and for all. SIGN THE PETITION!
· The Gila River is an ecological treasure that deserves long-term protection.
· The diversion project is technically infeasible and will yield little to no water in many years.
· The Gila diversion is expected to be hugely expensive, with construction costs estimated by the Bureau of Reclamation at $800M to $1 billion and a continuing cost for operation, maintenance, and CAP exchange water in excess of $10 million each year, in perpetuity.
· The diversion is unaffordable for New Mexicans. The federal funds available will pay for only a small fraction of the construction cost of the NM Unit, leaving a gap of up to $900+ million for taxpayers and water users to cover.
· The project is unnecessary because the area’s long-term water needs can be met by other proven means — through conservation, groundwater management, water recycling and watershed restoration.