San Augustin Water Report
Working to protect water rights on the San Augustin Plains and insure a sustainable New Mexico
For more information and useful resources, CCWR recommends these pages:
© Copyright San Augustin Water Report 2014
Submit your protest letter NOW to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer!
We have provided two sample letters to help get you started. THREE COPIES of your letter should be mailed to:
5550 San Antonio Drive NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109-4127
You must send your protest letter within 10 days. You must include the case number assigned by the State Engineer, RG-89943. You must send 3 copies. You can review the entire legal notice published in the local paper - including details of the location of all 37 proposed wells - by clicking here.
Below are just a few good reasons why you should send your own protest letter to the State Engineer, provided by geologist Dennis Inman. You MUST help us fight to protect your water rights.
Donate to our legal defense fund. ALL donations go directly to help defray expenses in defending our water rights. Funds are needed now to assist in bringing our expert witnesses to testify before the Office of the State Engineer and at subsequent legal proceedings.
Thank you very much for your tax-deductible donation to our legal defense fund. With a new proposal filed by the water miners, we are facing another round of court battles. We continue to fight hard to preserve the resources and way of life of our rural community surrounding the San Augustin Plains and your donation will make a difference in our ability to keep this area viable for future generations.
To donate online:
The Southwest Research and Information Center
has generously consented to administer our donations and insure that the funds are used for research and expert testimony in coordination with the New Mexico Environmental Law Center's legal defense.
When you click the "DONATE" button below, you will be re-directed to the SRIC website. At the right side of the screen, click on the blue and white button that says "Donate Now Through Network For Good."
On the donation form, first fill in the amount at the top left. Under "Designation" please type in AUGUSTIN PLAINS. You will be asked to create a login, and then will be able to donate using either your credit card or PayPal account.
To donate by check:
Please make your check payable to the
Southwest Research and Information Center.
Note on your check memo line "AUGUSTIN PLAINS".
Mail your check to
Southwest Research and Information Center
P.O. Box 4524
Albuquerque, NM 87196
The Southwest Research and Information Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and your donation is tax-deductible.
The Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC. (APR) proposes to extract 54,000 acre feet of water annually from the Plains of San Augustin.
The plains aquifer is already in decline as of a recent report from the Water Resources Research Institute which states that the plains groundwater has declined by 0.22 MAF (million acre feet) or 220,000 AF or 65,170,290,000 gallons between 1970 and the 1990ís, and this does not take into account the losses since 2000. This decline is with the drought and the current withdrawals for stock grazing and subdivisions. Currently there is about 7,000 AF of water under permit for diversion in the watershed.
The APRís application would achieve the current amount of decline that was scientifically calculated to have occurred between 1970 and 1990ís; again not taking into account the losses in this century, within a 4 year period. This is not a sustainable rate of withdrawal of the groundwater; because of the lack of adequate recharge to the watershed.
The Plains of San Augustin has a flow gradient to the southwest, toward the Continental Divide; this is only possible if the basin is leaking through fault/fracture structures that cross the divide. The leaking water supports the flows in the Gila and San Francisco Rivers. The water from the San Augustin Plains was never considered under the Arizona Water Settlement Act, which was a major over sight.
Other things at risk from this amount of additional pumping are:
Depletion of the whole groundwater aquifer,
Collapse of the perched aquifers in the northern part of the plains,
Deferential settlement of the soils within the basin,
Probable damage to roads, homes and utilities,
Devaluation of adjacent properties,
Economic loss to Datil and the surrounding area; this also includes much of Catron and Socorro Counties. This could also adversely affect reaches of the Gila and San Francisco Rivers. Catron and Grant Counties would sustain economic loss of recreational income from hiking, bird watching, fishing, and hunting as well as the flora and fauna of these areas along the rivers. There will be diminished flows within the river systems to the point that there would not be enough water to support acequias ditches. This will also adversely affect two National Forests and the Gila Wilderness.
The current average wellhead elevation in the plains is about 6,940 feet in elevation and the average water elevation is about 6,744 feet; but water depths are all over the place because of perched nature of these water tables, within the basin. This is based on evaluating 100 wells associated with lower part of the plains. The APRís 30 plus wells will be pumping water from about 4,000 feet in elevation. This difference in elevation is beyond what the current adjacent land owners could ever afford. To deepen their wells to this depth is well beyond their economic means. Also water quality often from such depths has higher concentration of harmful minerals and much higher levels of salt. The southwestern part of the plains has a salt playa with high salt content in the wells in that area.