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NM Eyes and Ears on Jewell Speech about Colorado River

PHOTO: New Mexico's water interests are at stake as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks about the Colorado River at a meeting in Las Vegas Friday. Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management.
PHOTO: New Mexico's water interests are at stake as Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks about the Colorado River at a meeting in Las Vegas Friday. Photo courtesy Bureau of Land Management.
December 12, 2013

LAS VEGAS – New Mexico's water interests are at stake as U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell speaks about the Colorado River at a meeting in Las Vegas Friday.

Jewell's presentation is part of the Colorado River Water Users Association 2013 Annual Conference.

Estevan Lopez, director of New Mexico's Interstate Stream Commission, hopes to hear messages of cooperation during the Jewell's address.

"We try and make sure there is two-way communication relative to all of these things,” he says. “I think the secretary – we certainly look to her for guidance and I think she looks to the states and to all of the stakeholders in terms of trying to find solutions that are palatable and implementable."

Lopez points out that about one-third of New Mexico's surface water supply comes from the Colorado River. He says government studies project that Colorado River supply will be overwhelmed by demand in future decades.

More than 30 million people in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming depend on the river.

Jewell's presentation is titled Action Is Imperative – We Need a Balanced Approach to Bridge the Gap between Supply and Demand on the Colorado River.

Lopez says Jewell is focused on both conserving water and increasing supply following the decade-long drought on the Colorado. He says there are several work groups already studying the issues.

"One of them is going to focus on municipal and industrial conservation opportunities,” he says. “Another is going to focus on agricultural conservation."

Lopez adds there are ideas out there of piping water from the Missouri River and other rivers into the Colorado. He also says there are also concepts of reusing water from oil and gas development and using desalinated ocean water.


Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM