The age old question debated by environmentalists and industrialists is at the forefront in New Mexico regarding the Gila River. It is the state’s last free flowing river and lawmakers are trying to decide whether it should be managed as a new supply of water in a sometimes draught stricken region.
New Mexico has some rights to the Gila River based on 2004 agreement inked with Arizona. If NM chooses not to use the water before year end, they will lose the water to Arizona. Yes, the problem with water in rivers is that if you don’t drink it or use it for irrigation, then the next state over gets it. NM will also lose millions of dollars in federal funds for construction of a water diversion/dam project.
Estevan Lopez , (Go Texas Tech) director of NM interstate stream commission, is in the unenviable position of influencing the decision which has no discernible consensus at this time. He believes conserving the river and changing its course do not necessarily have to clash, but history is littered with the deleterious effects of human attempts to change the path of a natural waterway. The army corps of engineers was behind the disastrous outcome of its efforts in Florida and all such attempts to change nature in order to benefit mankind invariably have negative unintended consequences on the environment.