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Las Cruces Officials Attend U.S. Supreme Court Water Rights Hearing 2018

A Las Cruces contingent consisting of Mayor Ken Miyagishima, City Manager Stuart C. Ed, City Attorney Jennifer Vega-Brown, and Las Cruces Utilities Director Dr. Jorge Garcia attended a U.S. Supreme Court hearing Monday to observe arguments in the case Texas vs. New Mexico and Colorado.

The legal dispute is over Rio Grande water rights and the ability of farmers in southern New Mexico to pump groundwater fed by the river while also accessing surface water from the Rio Grande.

“The City of Las Cruces is very concerned that its water rights portfolio and long-range planning, that have been secured under state water law, are at risk,” said Ed. “The City has supported the State of New Mexico’s legal effort by providing its water legal team consisting of out-sourced attorneys Jay Stein and Jim Brockmann to support the state’s legal brief.”

“We know a lot is at stake concerning the use of groundwater in our part of the state,” Miyagishima said. “It is critical that we represented the City of Las Cruces’ interests during this historic discussion of the future of our water rights as a community.”

Immediately following the arguments, Miyagishima and Ed met informally with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas to discuss next steps and the City of Las Cruces’ interest in the case. Balderas agreed to formally meet with Miyagishima and Ed to ensure the City of Las Cruces’ interests are represented in the State’s Answer to the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling regarding Monday’s hearing.

The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday’s case is expected over the next 90 to 120 days.