After years of dispute and finally reaching an historic agreement over the use of water from the Rio Grande River, the states of Texas, New Mexico and Colorado are requesting a special master, and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court, to approve their settlement terms in light of a recent objection raised by the Biden administration.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says he will fight on their behalf after the states finally resolved a dispute over an 84-year-old compact that Texas sued over in 2013.
The Rio Grande Compact, which Texas, New Mexico and Colorado entered into in 1938 and was approved by Congress, was devised to equitably apportion the waters of the Rio Grande River among the three states through which it flows. The Texas legislature also ratified the agreement, which became part of the Texas Water Code.
The river is a vital water source for the three U.S. states and four Mexican states, flowing through arid, semi-arid and desert terrain. Due to the massive agricultural reliance on water from the river, only 20% of the river’s water is estimated to reach the Gulf of Mexico.
The Rio Grande River flows along the southern boundaries of 13 Texas border counties. At the center of the dispute is the region between Elephant Butte Dam in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and Hudspeth County, Texas. The dam confines the Elephant Butte Reservoir, which New Mexicans use primarily for agriculture, as well as recreation and hydroelectricity. Hudspeth County is the second-most west located Texas county, located directly east of El Paso County, which borders New Mexico.
In 2013, Texas sued over the compact in Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado. Texas alleged New Mexico was unfairly syphoning water from the river before it reached Texas. New Mexico counterclaimed, alleging Texas violated the compact.
After years of dispute, the […]
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