Editorial: Indian water settlements get costlier

"With every passing season — especially the dry ones — the tension over rights to water ratchets tighter on this state where there's so little of it.

And with every new subdivision, every new business and industrial operation contributing to New Mexico's growth, the need to determine who controls how much water grows more urgent.

But as Staci Matlock reported in last Tuesday's New Mexican, the state's citizens are up against the costly process of water-rights adjudication. The very term hints at the price tag: Lawyers are involved. And to get today's cases settled quickly, not to mention those hiding 'round the bend of every stream, will take even more attorneys.

That was the message Monday from our state's top water official to members of the Legislature's Water and Natural Resources Committee. State Engineer John D'Antonio told them that, to settle all the claims, it would take at least $300 million — over the next half-century."

Get the Story:
Our view: Water-rights resolution will only get costlier (The Santa Fe New Mexican 12/2)

Relevant Links:
New Mexico Office of the State Engineer - http://www.ose.state.nm.us

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