Utton Center Researchers on New Mexico's Colorado River Risks

March 7, 2024 - Rin Tara and John Fleck

Utton Center Staff Attorney, Rin Tara and Utton Center Writer-in-Residence, John Fleck are pleased to announce the publication their law review article "Last Call: The Limitations of New Mexico’s Existing Water Management Framework in the Face of Reduced Colorado River Water Deliveries" in Volume 35, Issue 1 of the University of Colorado Environmental Law Journal. The paper addresses the resilience of New Mexico’s internal water management programs considering the interstate Colorado River obligations within the Law of the River. We examine the authorizing statutes for the San Juan Chama Project and note possible pitfalls in the language. Given the strong likelihood of continued Colorado River delivery reductions in the near future, we posit that the state must consider the durability of existing water management strategies—the priority system, the Office of the State Engineer’s Active Water Resource Management program, the New Mexico Strategic Water Reserve, and individual acequia governance structures. The full article can be found here: https://celj.cu.law/?p=1001. PDF copies of the article available upon request.