Gila River Basin Water Uses in New Mexico, exclusive of the Virden Valley

Gila River Adjudication

The State Engineer in 1966 completed a Hydrographic Survey of water uses in the Gila River Basin in New Mexico, exclusive of the Virden Valley. The water rights of users in the basin, exclusive of the Virden Valley, were subsequently adjudicated in the Gila River Adjudication.

Decree in Arizona v. California

The US Supreme Court in 1964 issued a decree in this case that limits New Mexico’s consumptive uses of water from the Gila River, its tributaries and underground water sources in New Mexico, exclusive of uses in the Virden Valley adjudicated by the Globe Equity Decree. Under the decree in Arizona v. California, the State of New Mexico is enjoined from irrigating more than specified amounts of acres from designated stream reaches or subbasins, and from consumptively using more than specified amounts of water annually and over periods of ten consecutive years from the Gila River, the San Francisco River and San Simon Creek. The decree also requires New Mexico to maintain accurate records of acres irrigated and diversions, and to prepare annually reports of consumptive uses from the Gila River stream system in New Mexico, exclusive of the Virden Valley. The Court in 2006 issued a consolidated decree in this case to incorporate amendments made over time to the 1964 decree.

Consumptive Use Accounting

The Office of the State Engineer’s Deming District Office annually conducts field surveys of the crop acreage in the Gila River Basin in New Mexico.  The District Office also collects records of municipal, industrial, domestic, and commercial water uses.  The Interstate Stream Commission collects diversion records for irrigation ditches.  The Commission uses all of these data, along with information from other sources, to prepare annual reports on consumptive uses, irrigation acreages, and diversions in the Gila River Basin in New Mexico, as required by the 1964 decree.  These annual reports and associated backup data are available for inspection at the Commission office in Santa Fe.  Data compilations from recent reports are available online.

Disclaimer – The contents of this web page are not meant to be an exclusive list or description of all of the responsibilities and activities of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission in the Colorado River Basin. Only summary information is provided.