SAN AUGUSTIN PLAINS
WORKING TO PROTECT WATER RIGHTS ON THE
AND INSURE A SUSTAINABLE NEW MEXICO
Windmill photo by Cheryl Walsh Belville
"...a family of modern-day carpetbaggers wants to pump the lifeblood of a living bioregion, create a water hemorrhage with no thought of tourniquet, despoil a vibrant habitat, rape the Earth-for money, lots of money..."
("Water Heist in the Plains of San Augustin" by Jack Loeffler, Greenfire Times)
"Ground water mining will destroy the sustainability of ranches, towns, and national forests over a very large region."
(Carol Pittman, founding member, San Augustin Water Coalition)
"Not only would neighboring landowners discover their wells running dry, surface springs will disappear and water that makes its way to the Gila and Monticello Box will wind up in the Rio Grande instead. The entire region will be placed at risk of catastrophic loss."
(From "The Water Grab on the San Augustin Plains" by Mary Katherine Ray)
THE IMMEDIATE THREAT TO RURAL WATER RIGHTS AND RANCHLAND
New York water speculators, calling themselves the Augustin Plains Ranch (APR) want to mine -- and export -- 17 billion gallons of ground water each year from rural New Mexico's San Augustin plains. Not only does the San Augustin aquifer provide water for surrounding ranches, communities and wildlife, it helps sustain the Gila River with its communities and its unspoiled wilderness areas. We are committed to halting this water grab in order to prevent it destroying the local ecosystem and economy. You can help too! Join us at one of our events, or make a donation to help support the New Mexico Environmental Law Center's efforts on our behalf.
THE NEED FOR EXPERT TESTIMONY
Here is why it is so important that our side has its own scientific expert: the APR water miners have commissioned a study that shows that pumping 54000 acre-feet/year will not affect our wells. You and I know that this is patent nonsense. However, as you may guess, the State Engineer and the courts will place little value on our gut reactions. Instead, they will be swayed by the testimony of hydrologists … which means that we need a hydrologist.
THE NEW WATER MINING ATTEMPT
The water miners at Augustin Plains Ranch LLC continues to apply for water rights without stating a specific use and place of use. That’s called speculation in water and is illegal. Do you want to enrich an international
corporation or do you believe that water is a human right to be available to all? This application, if approved, could set a precedent and affect communities throughout New Mexico.
HOW YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE
Thank you in advance for your tax-deductible donation to our legal defense fund. With a new proposal filed by the water miners, we are facing another round of court battles. We continue to fight hard to preserve the resources and way of life of our rural community surrounding the San Augustin Plains and your donation will make a difference in our ability to keep this area viable for future generations.
Oh no, the water miners have appealed...again
January 2020: The APR water miners have filed a “Docketing Statement” with the New Mexico Court of Appeals. Our monumental water battle has raged since 2007 when the APR first applied to mine water in the Plains of San Augustin. Now, 13 years later, in 2020, the battle rages on. On August 23, 2019, Judge Matthews of the 7th Judicial District, dismissed the application “with prejudice”, meaning that the APR should not return to the State Engineer with the 2014 or similar application. Judge Matthews stated in part, “the people of New Mexico should not have their water tied up any longer.” As had been expected, the APR appealed Judge Reynolds’ decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeals. That appeal is now in process. The Docketing Statement presents 18 issues upon which APR bases its appeal. The full Docketing Statement may be seen here.
ABOUT THE SAN AUGUSTIN WATER REPORT
The San Augustin Water Report is owned by Carol Pittman, with the goal of keeping residents of Catron and Socorro counties, and all of New Mexico, informed about the threat to their lives and lifestyles posed by the Augustin Plains Ranch water mining proposal. This attempted water grab is the subject of ongoing litigation, and parties protesting the plan include ranchers, town and subdivision residents, Native American tribes, the San Augustin Water Coalition, and many others.