Earth Matters / Gila River Festival
w/ Norm Gaume, Peter Coha & Jim Brainard

How much water is really available to New Mexico under the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA)? How much water can a Gila River diversion project really provide after accounting for evaporation and seepage? What does the NM Interstate Stream Commission’s secret model tell us about the agency’s plans to develop Gila River water?

In this special Gila River Festival presentation, Norm Gaume, former Interstate Stream Commission director and chief critic of the diversion project, along with colleagues Peter Coha and Jim Brainard, describe their findings from analysis of the ISC’s “secret model” and from development of a decision support model to evaluate evaporative and seepage losses. Their results provide critical information to the ISC’s November decision on whether or not to construct a $1.1B diversion project or instead use AWSA funding for cost-effective non-diversion projects to meet SWNM’s long-term water needs.

Links to their power points are below so feel free to follow along and the podcast below includes the full Q&A session following their presentation.  More info available at

Peter Coha presentation – Gila River Diversion Model Issues & Summary

Jim Brainard presentation – Gila River Festival / AWSA Presentation

Norm Gaume is a mostly retired licensed water engineer. Norm grew up in southern New Mexico and received BS and MS degrees in Electrical and Civil Engineering from NMSU. His career includes 4 years with a water resource modeling engineering firm, 19 years with the City of Albuquerque, 6 years as Director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, and 12 years as a self-employed consulting engineer. Norm is currently working to save New Mexico taxpayers and the wild Gila River from the proposed New Mexico Unit of the Central Arizona Project, which would develop Gila River water by exchange. Alternatives have benefit-cost ratios less than 0.25. Benefits are overstated due to the assumption of full water supplies.

Jim Brainard holds a BS in Geology from the University of New Mexico and a MS, also from UNM, in which studied vadose zone hydrology. He is now retired from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) where he worked as a hydrologist and was charged with the design, implementation, and analysis of large-scale vadose zone infiltration experiments for the purpose of investigating flow and transport processes at several contaminated Department of Energy sites.

While at Sandia, Jim also helped gather and analyze hydrologic data for the development of the SNL Gila-San Francisco Decision Support Tool and through this project was introduced to the concepts of System Dynamics (SD) and its application to hydrologic problems.

Jim is currently developing SD models of the proposed diversion and storage alternatives along the Gila River near Gila, NM for the purpose of educating both the public and decision makers about the hydrologic response of the proposed projects and the efficacy of the proposed designs.

Peter Coha’s bio will be posted ASAP.

Earth Matters airs Tuesday & Thursday at 10am and 8pm
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Earth Matters / Gila River Festival – Norm Gaume

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