Rio Grande Water for Sale
Lion's Gate Water, a Canadian company operating in New Mexico, announced today that it has offered to sell up to 392,000 acre feet of water to the Mexican Government, specifically, the City of Juarez.
"Juarez is in dire straights," said Dr. William Turner, of Lion's Gate Water. "The negotiation of international treaties for the supply of water is a never-ending process. Not only are international treaty negotiations implacable, in the post 9/11 world, there is no public funding to build the necessary infrastructure."
In June 2003, Lion's Gate Water applied for all of the un-appropriated water that evaporates from the surface of Elephant Butte, Caballo, and Cochiti reservoirs in New Mexico.
"This water is wasted and under the water law of the American West, this kind of waste is illegal," said Dr. Turner. In 1979, the U.S. Court of Appeals prohibited the City of Albuquerque from storing San Juan-Chama transmountain project water in Elephant Butte reservoir because the extreme waste of water in a desert environment could not be tolerated. It is locally said, 'Elephant Butte is where we spread our water to dry.' "No longer," said Dr. Turner.
The applications filed by Lion's Gate are intended to commercialize the water produced and diverted under the permits. Dr. Turner noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has declared water to be an article of interstate commerce in several cases. Furthermore, he said that he knows of no federal or state laws that prohibit the international sale of water from the United States to Mexico or the United States to Canada by private vendors.
According to Dr. Turner, Lion's Gate Water will apply a great deal of water to environmental restoration when the application is approved by the New Mexico State Engineer. "Water will also be available for endangered species," Dr. Turner stated.
"Where un-appropriated water is available and the laws do not prevent the private sale of water, the private sector can move more quickly," Dr. Turner said. Dr. Turner ended his comments by saying, "We believe that we can begin to deliver wet water to Juarez within five years following issuance of a permit from the New Mexico State Engineer and other construction permits."
Lion's Gate Water operates entirely within the State of New Mexico. Its focus is to solve environmental and water supply problems on a commercial basis.