Taos Pueblo Water Rights Settlement Agreement
The Taos Pueblo Water Rights Settlement Agreement was developed through multi-party negotiations begun in 1989 between the Taos Pueblo, the State of New Mexico, the Taos Valley Acequia Association (and its 55 member acequias), the Town of Taos, El Prado Water and Sanitation District (EPWSD), and the 12 Taos-area Mutual Domestic Water Consumer Associations to settle Taos Pueblo’s water rights claims to the Rio Hondo and Rio Pueblo de Taos stream systems. An initial Settlement Agreement was signed May 2006, and following the passage of the Taos Settlement Act on December 8, 2010, P.L. No. 111-291, § 501, et seq., a final Settlement Agreement (conformed to include provisions of the Act) was signed by all parties, including the United States in its trust capacity, in January 2013. Collectively the parties to the Settlement Agreement represent the vast majority of water users in the Taos Valley.
In exchange for adjudication of the Pueblo’s water rights with senior priorities, the Settlement Agreement provides funding for Mutual Benefit Projects and mitigation mechanisms for offsetting surface water depletion effects of groundwater pumping, preserves existing acequia water uses and historic water sharing arrangements between the Pueblo and non-Pueblo acequias on the Rio Lucero and Rio Pueblo, and authorizes the United States to allocate 2,621 AFY of water supply contracts from the San Juan-Chama Project for the Pueblo, the Town of Taos, and EPWSD.
The Court is conducting an expedited inter se proceeding to determine whether to enter the proposed Partial Final Judgment and Decree adjudicating the Pueblo’s water rights according to the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Notice is being provided to all water rights claimants in the Rio Hondo and Rio Pueblo de Taos stream systems of their opportunity to review the settlement and the proposed decree, and to file objections, if any, with the court. The Taos Settlement Act sets March 31, 2017 as the deadline for the court to enter the Partial Final Judgment and Decree.
Taos Pueblo Settlement Agreement and Related Documents
Below you will find links to the Taos Pueblo Settlement Agreement and the documents described in the Notice of Expedited Proceeding Concerning Proposed Judgment and Decree on the Water Rights of Taos Pueblo.
To contact Myron Armijo, Native American Water Liaison with the Office of the State Engineer, email Myron Armijo or call (505) 383-4091 in Albuquerque.