The Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District and the Carlsbad Irrigation District met Wednesday at the State Capitol with representatives from the state, the Interstate Stream Commission and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to begin discussion of how to fulfill the CID’s need for water without resulting in a priority call.
“To say it’s a daunting task before us is probably a colossal understatement,” said PVACD superintendent Aron Balok. “But I think everyone in that room understood the pressure we’re under.”
A priority call would not be just a PVACD issue, he said, as its effects would sweep across the entire state of New Mexico.
“It would be an absolute economic disaster,” Balok said. “We’ve never experienced anything like it. The state budget would reel from that.”
While the solution remains unclear, he said he felt “cautiously optimistic” and genuinely believes the CID wants to avoid a priority call.
“I hope we can work something out to alleviate their problems,” he said.
Yet, the PVACD has its own issues to deal with, he said, due to the past 24 months being the driest it has been in 117 years.
Balok felt as though some CID members didn’t realize that though their district does have senior rights, some of their own wells also would be subject to the priority call.
“Curtailing water use in the PVACD won’t produce more water for them,” Balok said. “The only cure to that problem is more rain.”
The best all parties can do, he said, is work together to come up with ways to address the needs of the CID.
Another meeting has been planned next week for further discussion. In the meantime, CID Board president Charles Jurva said the respective boards would try to work out details and possible outcomes that would benefit all involved.
“We’re working toward, at all costs, trying to avoid a priority call,” he said.