This week on Earth Matters, Allyson Siwik, Audubon NM’s Beth Bardwell, and Western Resource Advocates’ Jorge Figueroa discuss their recently released report on water conservation and efficiency measures for Deming as an alternative to importing water from the Gila River.
Since the Arizona Water Settlements Act was passed in 2004, southwest New Mexico has been engaged in a debate about how to build long-term water security for the region — whether to use $66M in federal funds available under the AWSA to build a Gila River diversion or to spend those funds on water conservation and efficiency measures instead. Although the NM Interstate Stream Commission and the local NM CAP Entity have been planning a diversion project since 2014, the final outcome is far from determined. The environmental compliance process under the National Environmental Policy Act will begin in June with scoping meetings planned in 8 communities in southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona. Alternatives to a costly and environmentally harmful diversion project will be evaluated for their efficiency, costs and benefits.
Beth Bardwell is the Director of Conservation for Audubon New Mexico. She has been working to conserve freshwater and rivers within New Mexico and the Rio Grande basin through on-the-ground restoration and water policy reform at the local, state and federal level.
Jorge Figueroa is Chief Innovations Officer with Americas for Conservation + the Arts, where he engages and connects leaders, creates networks, and harnesses the power of markets, incentives, and technology to solve environmental problems in the Americas. Jorge formerly worked for Western Resource Advocates for 8 years as a Senior Water Policy Analyst, developing innovative processes and solutions with and for governors, state agencies, utilities, local communities, and other partner organizations.
Their report is available on the Audubon New Mexico website:
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Earth Matters / Deming’s Water Future?