Relevant documents may be read under Reference documents on www.nmcapentity.org .
The New Mexico Central Arizona Project is not out of time, as has been alleged. The legal deadline is Dec. 31, 2019. Plans are not incomplete but are evolving, as the NEPA process goes forward.
Many studies and reviews have already been completed in the past 10 years by various consultants and engineers.
Irrigators belonging to the seven diversions along the Gila River and on the San Francisco diversions WANT and NEED this water to fulfill their adjudicated allocations.
Costs are not huge. They are designed to come well within the amount allocated in the construction fund of the Arizona Water Settlements Act from the Lower Colorado River Basin investment Fund.
Yes, there has been more than a decade of studies and spending has equaled about $15 million, but much was done by the ISC before the New Mexico CAP Entity came into being in 2015. The ISC and Bureau of Reclamation came up with a $1 billion plan, which was SOUNDLY REJECTED by the CAP Entity members. The preliminary engineering report by a consultant is available, but current engineers contracted by the CAP Entity are making changes to cut costs and environmental impacts. The economic and business plan is in the works to be made available later this summer.
And too many expenditures have had to be made to address frivolous complaints and allegations of violations by the board that were ultimately shown by the Attorney General's office to be not accurate and not violations. Not to mention the volunteer and paid staff time to answer frequent freedom of information act requests, some encompassing months and years of correspondence. Again, to no avail at uncovering violations, which did not exist. And to top it off, those who have made these requests have NOT even asked to review them. Unconscionable.
Specifics are available in the project summary at the above-mentioned website, and by talking to CAP members at the scoping meetings. Amounts of project water have been specified; users holders are willing to pay the costs; and costs have been estimated.
Clarification: The Secretary of the Interior must issue a record of decision by the end of 2019, unless because of a fault NOT of the CAP Entity, the ROD can be extended to 2030.
In November 2014, the ISC notified the Secretary of Interior that New Mexico intended to move forward with construction of a NM Unit. The agency based its decision on planning and analyses for a large-scale diversion structure that would have diverted and stored Gila River water for unidentified uses, cost more than $1 billion to construct, operate and maintain, impacted an inventoried road-less area on the edge of the Gila Wilderness, and harmed seven threatened and endangered species.
Yes, that was the project at the time, but it has been scrapped and greatly modified. See paragraph 6 above.
The stated purpose of the proposed action is to develop the NM Unit of the Central Arizona Project to allow for more consumptive use of Gila River water. The stated need is to develop water for agricultural use and with features to allow for future expansion of the project to develop up to 14,000 acre-feet/year of Gila and San Francisco basins' water.
The AWSA allocates 10,000 acre-feet per year to the Gila Basin; 4,000 acre-feet are allocated to the San Francisco Basin. Actually, the act specifies up to 140,000 acre-feet over 10 years, with a maximum of 64,000 to be taken in any one year, not to exceed the 140,000 over the 10-year period.
The diversion in the proposed action is NOT a large concrete diversion dam, but a modified fixed crest diversion to put water into existing ditches through conveyance, most likely gravity fed. Ditches will not need to be enlarged or capacities doubled as has also been alleged.
Storage will be in Winn Canyon on the Gila, with additional storage ponds. Wells will recover aquifer recharge water, alleged to be "leakage." The river regularly provides aquifer recharge naturally.
Storage ponds and conveyance are in the works for the Virden area, which is also regulated by the Globe Equity Decree.
A diversion and storage will be placed at the existing Sprugeon site in Catron County.
Allegations of harm to threatened and endangered species will be addressed in the NEPA process, with mitigation, if required. Allegations that the river will dry up will actually not occur, because water in storage will be released as needed to keep the river from drying up in places AS IT DOES NOW.
Talk about blowing all out of proportion. It's the game of statistics: The writers of the GCC comments have obviously read the book: How to Lie with Statistics. The current exchange costs per acre foot are around $150, not the number with an extra zero on it as alleged by the GCC.
Allegations that Freeport-McMoRan stands to gain from this diversion are incorrect, other than indirectly for some irrigated land along the Gila River that is leased for agricultural purposes only.
Allegations that the left-over money will provide water to irrigators at no cost is MYTH. The users will pay all exchange costs. The NM CAP Entity has no taxing authority, so it cannot pass any costs on to the public.
In recent meetings, the CAP Entity members have attempted to change the language in their JPA, so that left-over money can be invested to pay for ongoing operations and maintenance and the interest from the funding can be applied for and allocated to winning proposals to benefit users in the four counties.
The proposed action will not require "massive ongoing public subsidy" as the users will pay exchange costs, and remaining money will be invested to allow payment of operations and maintenance of the diversion. (see the above paragraph!).