Dec 22 2010
A proposal involving swaps of substantial water rights, and involving significant financial settlements, between the computer chip maker Intel Corporation and the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, has been dropped.
A number of Rio Grande area water users, and a number of legislators from those areas, were opposed to the deal, concerned it might wind up limiting water access for other users. State officials had argued that the agreement would overall be beneficial.
Last summer the state described the agreement and the process behind it this way:
Under the proposed agreement the Interstate Stream Commission will receive water rights and funds from Intel in exchange for assuming part of Intel’s obligation to offset Rio Grande depletion impacts that result from Intel’s groundwater pumping. The Interstate Stream Commission plans to meet that obligation using water that it has available to it, including water rights Intel will convey to them, relinquished Rio Grande Compact credits and other sources available to the Interstate Stream Commission.
Under the terms of the agreement, the state would receive about 741 acre-feet of senior water rights that would ultimately be placed in the Strategic Water Reserve for ecological projects aimed at solving endangered species issues in the Middle Rio Grande. In addition, Intel will also provide $1 million a year for 10 years, adjusted for inflation, to the Interstate Stream Commission for the Strategic Water Reserve and for dealing with endangered species issues on the Middle Rio Grande.
The Director of the Interstate Stream Commission and staff have been meeting with Middle Rio Grande stakeholders to help explain the agreement and its benefits to New Mexico. Links to the agreement, presentation materials and correspondence are available to view below.
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