Gila River Basin
Virden Valley Water Uses in New Mexico

Globe Equity Decree

The Globe Equity Decree was entered by the US District Court in Arizona in 1935. The decree adjudicates the water rights of users from the Gila River and its tributaries in Arizona above the confluence with the Salt River, and from the Gila River within the Virden Valley in New Mexico. The Gila River Commissioner is appointed by the US District Court to administer water uses under the decree, and annually prepares a report of diversions and water uses under the decree.

Upper Valley Defendants Agreement

This agreement was approved in 2004 in Title II of the Arizona Water Settlements Act, and provides for settlement of a suit over ground-water pumping along the Gila River filed in the US District Court in Arizona by the Gila River Indian Community. New Mexico farmers in the Virden Valley are defendants in the suit, and the legislation allows Virden Valley farmers to conjunctively divert up to six acre-feet per acre from ground and surface water, regardless of priority. In return, Virden Valley farmers in New Mexico are to retire up to 240 acres of irrigated lands, 160 acres of which are to be purchased by the Department of the Interior from willing sellers.

Consumptive Use Accounting

The Office of the State Engineer’s Deming District Office annually conducts field surveys of crop acreage in the Virden Valley in New Mexico, and the Interstate Stream Commission uses the survey notes for estimating consumptive uses in the Gila River Basin in New Mexico. As updated orthorectified aerial photography becomes available, the Interstate Stream Commission prepares corresponding updated base mapping of farmlands in the Virden Valley in New Mexico and transfers the field survey notes from the Deming District Office to the most recent base mapping, storing the data in Geographic Information System databases. The commission also periodically prepares reports of consumptive uses from the entire Gila River Basin in New Mexico, which reports are available for inspection at the commission office in Santa Fe.

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.