Welcome to News @ Noon for Thursday 21 February 2013 brought to you by Gila / Mimbres Community Radio in a community media collaboration with The Grant County Beat – your daily newspaper for up-to-date information about Grant County.
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Amending an AWSA water use proposal
was GSFWC meeting surpise
Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 12:59
While Charles “Tink” Jackson, manager of the Deming Office of the State Engineer prepared for his somewhat surprising presentation, members of the Gila/San Francisco Water Commission heard from ISC Deputy Director Craig Roepke about the Input Committee, which serves to give input into the ISC review process of submitted projects to use Arizona Water Settlements Act water and funding allocated to the region.
He announced that the next Input Committee meeting would take place in Silver City, Monday, April 15, with the quarterly public meeting that evening, with time and place to be announced.
Jackson addressed what had happened in the past couple of weeks as a result of a capital outlay request by Sen. John Arthur Smith, who represents portions of Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra, and Doña Ana counties. Smith proposed a study to utilize in Las Cruces and in the four counties, through which a pipeline would travel to carry it, 10,000 annual, average acre-feet of water diverted from the Gila River. The AWSA allocates 14,000 acre-feet of water, but 4,000 acre-feet are allocated from the San Francisco River.
Jackson explained that a separate $75 million had been requested to divert water from Carlsbad to the Lower Rio Grande Basin, as a result of significant lawsuits from Texas about ground water usage impacting how much surface water travels from New Mexico to Texas, as required by interstate compacts. The suit alleges that surface water percolates into groundwater and cuts the amount that remains as surface water.
“The Office of the State Engineer believes that once the water is percolated into the ground, it belongs to the state,” Jackson said. “A state decision upheld the OSE, but the decision is likely to be appealed, as Texas sued that the groundwater is taking water from the Rio Grande.”
Jackson said he met with Smith on the $25 million. “He made things clear. He has been looking at the potential impact to Hidalgo and Luna counties, as well as Las Cruces. It would be a $1 billion impact if New Mexico loses the suits. He told me the state had given you down here 10 years to determine how to utilize the water, and if you don’t figure how to use it, it will go to Las Cruces.”
“Our concern is that a pipeline would take the water to Las Cruces,” Jackson continued. “We here don’t want the water to go to Las Cruces. The potential is for the pipeline to go through Silver City, the mining district towns, to Deming to Las Cruces.”
He pointed out that Silver City keeps a reserve of water, as does Deming and Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
“If the pipeline goes by that water, it, too, is at risk of being transferred to Las Cruces,” Jackson said. “I said, when this whole process started at that two-day meeting in Deming, ‘If we do not do something to get this water, it will go to Las Cruces.'”
What has been decided is that the proposal from Deming, already being reviewed by the Input Committee and the ISC, will be amended to make sure the water is used in the four counties. Jackson said representatives from Silver City, Grant County, Hurley, Bayard, Deming and Luna County all agree that the water be used in the four counties. “We will pull Catron County into the project, and I have spoken to Hidalgo County representatives. We will have one plan that all governments agree will put the water to use in the four counties. That water will get used in New Mexico. The senator (Smith) made it clear that he will not let the water cross the state line to Arizona. We can argue about costs. It doesn’t matter.”
“We are more worried about protecting the water for use here,” Jackson said. “Once we make an agreement with the Secretary of the Interior for use in the four-county area, the water can’t go anywhere else.”
“How does this project coincide with the ISC reviewing other projects?” Lee asked.
“When this project is moving forward, other entities are likely to pull their projects,” Jackson said.
Tom Bates, GSFWC president, said the Southwest Regional Water Plan stipulated the AWSA water not be used outside the four counties.
“Southern New Mexico has a shortage of water,” Roepke said. “If you don’t want it, somebody else will.”
Congressman Steve Pearce was in the audience. “At the end of the day, Craig said it best,” Pearce said. “If you don’t use the water, someone will. The Saudi Arabians are buying water rights worldwide, because they understand water is as strategic as oil. We either divert and use the water or history will show we lost it. … Las Vegas, Nevada, will buy it, if we continue to fight each other.
The rest of the meeting will be covered in a future article, with county officials and audience members making comments on the proposal.
New Director takes over at Silver City Arts and Cultural District
Created on Monday, 18 February 2013 11:39
The Silver City Arts and Cultural District announced the appointment of George Julian Dworin as its new Director. Dworin, who officially began on Feb. 1, 2013, brings to the position more than 20 years of business management and advertising experience.
“I’m excited about the job, but I’m more excited about the community,” Dworin told the Beat. “The job is giving me the opportunity to participate at a different level.
“I’ve been telling people about this place for many years,” he continued. “I started the job a long time ago.
Dworin has been visiting Silver City and Grant County on a regular basis since 1991. An artist, outdoor enthusiast, and avid mountain biker, he joined the community on a more permanent basis two years ago when he moved his digital printmaking studio to the Silver City Arts and Cultural District.
He said he came to Silver City on that trip “on a whim, after visiting several times a year every year. I thought it was just another visit, but I fell in love with a studio space that was available.”
“For a place of this size, it’s so vibrant, with so many assets culturally and with great diversity,” Dworin said. “It’s really about the people in Silver City. The enthusiasm, the talent, the friendliness—that’s why I’m here.”
Dworin believes that arts and culture are the foundation of the economic engine in the area.
“I’m excited about promoting the area regionally and nationally,” Dworin said. “I’m thankful for the support from the community. I’m excited about the partnerships we already have in the Arts and Cultural district and expanding them.”
Before Dworin had even begun his job, he visited at the state level with the other six arts and cultural districts in New Mexico. “Silver City really shines as a model for what an arts and cultural district can be.”
Dworin has served more than 400 corporate, institutional, non-profit, and small business clients nationally in his career. His experience is in the development and creation of brand identity, multi-media advertising and marketing campaigns. He has held positions in executive management, operations, sales and service, as well as being an art director, studio manager, designer and business owner.
“We are thrilled to have George heading up the ACD. He brings some very desirable attributes to the table that will be a real benefit to the organization and the community. We (the ACD Coordinating Council) are looking forward to working with him to build on the foundation that our first two directors laid in the beginning years,” Faye McCalmont, founding chairwoman, said.
“As Chair of the Arts and Cultural District Coordinating Council, I am delighted to have George Julian on board as SCACD/Tourism Director. The combination of creative and management skills, along with his design and marketing experience, make him a perfect fit for the position. Congratulations, George Julian Dworin,” said Lee Gruber, ACD Chair.
“This is a wonderful community, rich in cultural and natural resources. It is a great tourist destination. We are fortunate to have broad-based support from the community, the town, the county and the state for promoting arts and culture, and tourism as an economic engine for development,” said Dworin.
NMSU Climatologist Sees No Immediate End to Drought
Created on Wednesday, 20 February 2013 08:15 / By Charlie McKee
Climatologist David DuBois, PhD, of New Mexico State University had no good news for his Silver City audience regarding the drought conditions currently affecting the southwestern United States. In aligning current climactic conditions with historic global weather patterns over time, DuBois indicated that the drought being experienced in New Mexico and the southwestern region could be the beginning of a long-term (5-to-20 year) drought and high heat pattern.
The public forum featuring DuBois was held Tuesday evening, Feb. 19, at WNMU’s Global Resource Center auditorium and was the first of what is to be three such forums presented by the Town of Silver City’s Office of Sustainability. The Office Director, Nick Sussillo, explained to the audience during his introduction of DuBois that these forums would provide a basis for research and interviews with the public to support the Office’s preparation of its Sustainability Plan 2030. While this forum specifically addressed climate conditions in the local region, the future forums will address the following topics:
- April 10 – Public Health
- May 8 – Economic Resiliency
The purpose of the Sustainability Plan 2030, according to Sussillo, is three-pronged: to reduce vulnerability, build capability, and save money of the citizens of Silver City and Grant County through strengthening the local community, environment, and economy. The 25-member task force developing the plan is a collaboration of local public and private sector members and will focus on such threats as fire, grid failure, higher food costs, and pulmonary risk that are viewed as potential risks for the local geographic area over the next few decades due to climactic trends.
DuBois’s presentation focused on the current conditions in Climate Division 4 (CD4), a geographic area of similar weather encompassing mostly mountainous terrain with Silver City, NM at its southernmost tip and Grants, NM at its northernmost. In various graphical displays, DuBois demonstrated that 2012 was extreme and stands out uniquely in CD4 as both the warmest and driest year by considerable margin since 1895. In addition, the study of “streamflow,” which includes snowpack and reservoir measurements, shows that New Mexico’s snow levels and water reserves are dangerously low.
DuBois explained that his prediction that the current drought conditions will continue for some time is based upon a specific climate pattern, which indicates that CD4 is at the beinning of a very dry period. The pattern is comprised of a neutral period between El Niño and La Niña and a negative Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation, a combination, which has shown in the past to result in extended drought.
DuBois urged the audience to participate in climate observation in our area, stating that cuts in federal funding have resulted in the necessity for volunteer citizens to become the weather observers of the future. (These cuts include the termination of continuous weather observation and recording at Fort Bayard from 1877 to 2012.) He encouraged participation in the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHs) organization through which it is easy and inexpensive to become part of a North American volunteer weather reporting force.
Additional information is available on the following websites: