Heads Up! TOW Protest Period is Triggered with Publication of the Transfer Application

Santa Fe County and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), representing the pueblos of Nambe, Tesuque, Pojoaque, and San Ildefonso, published notice of their application to transfer Top of the World water rights to the Pojoaque Valley on June 18, 25, and July 2. Protests to this transfer of 1,700 acre feet of water from northern Taos County to the water delivery system in the Aamodt Adjudication must be filed within 10 days of the last day of publication, July 2. As stated in the legal notice, protests must be based on: (1) Impairment; if impairment you must specifically identify your water rights; and/or (2) Public welfare/conservation of water; if public welfare or conservation of water within the state of New Mexico, you must show you will be substantially affected.

The Taos County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to protest the TOW water transfer application on April 21, based on the recommendation of the Taos County Public Welfare Advisory Committee. As La Jicarita has covered extensively over the long history of this proposed transfer—dating back to 1999—many norteños are opposed to moving water across basins and out of watersheds to meet the terms the Aamodt Adjudication Settlement. A significant number of parties to the Aamodt Settlement are also opposed to the TOW transfer.

The entire legal notice is printed below. Specific information on how to file a protest is contained in the last paragraph. A hearing before the OSE will allow Taos County and any other protestors to lay out arguments showing how this transfer will impact the public welfare of the citizens of Taos County.

LEGAL # 98608

NOTICE is hereby given that on January 12, 2015 and amended on June 8, 2015, the Pueblo of Nambe, 15A NP 102 West, Santa Fe, NM, 87506, the Pueblo of Pojoaque, 78 Cities of Gold Road, Santa Fe, NM, 87506, the Pueblo de San Ildefonso, 02 Tunyo PO, Santa Fe, NM, 87506, the Pueblo of Tesuque, Route 42, Box 360-T, Santa Fe, NM, 87506, United States of America, Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, as Trustee for the Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo de San Ildefonso, and Pueblo of Tesuque, c/o William Walker, Regional Director and Christopher Banet, Trust Resources and Protection Manager, 1001 Indian School Road NW, Albuquerque, NM, 87104, and Santa Fe County, 102 Grant Ave., Santa Fe, NM, 87501-2061, filed Application No. RG-1441-S through RG-1441-S-11 into SP-5081 with the OFFICE OF THE STATE ENGINEER for Permit for Change Point of Diversion and Place and Purpose of Use from Groundwater to Surface Water.

The applicants seek a permit to cease use of wells within the Rio Grande/Red River System, as follows: well RG-1441-S located at a point where X=445,598 and Y=4,083,293; well RG-1441-S-2 located at
a point where X=444,905 and Y=4,083,163; well RG-1441-S-3 located at a point where X=444,271 and Y=4,083,276; well RG-1441-S-4 located at a point where X=443,955 and Y=4,083,259; well RG-1441-S-5 located at a point where X=444,037 and Y=4,084,223; well RG-1441-S-6 located at a point where X=444,002 and Y=4,084,962; well RG-1441-S-7 located at a point where X=444,002 and Y=4,084,879; well RG-1441-S-8 located at a point where X=442,906 and Y=4,083,916; well RG-1441-S-9 located at a point where X=443,964 and Y=4,089,789; well RG-1441-S-10 located at a point where X=444,043 and Y=4,090,809; and well RG-1441-S-11 located at a point where X=443,991 and Y=4,091,846, all in meters UTM (NAD83), Zone 13N, for the consumptive use of 1752.4 acre-feet of water per annum (afa) (1,141 afa consumptive use is from the United States of America, Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, held in trust for the Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Pueblo of Tesuque, plus 611.4 afa consumptive use is from Santa Fe County), used (1) for irrigation on 1,164.29 acres of land appurtenant to and described as: 16.16 acres, a portion of Pivot 2, located within Sections 12 & 13, Township 2 South (T2S), Range 74 West (R74W); 53.13 acres, a portion of Pivot 3, located within Sections 11 & 12, T2S, R74W; 65.36 acres, all of Pivot 4, located within Section 11, T2S, R74W; 239.23 acres, all of Pivot 6, located within Section 2, T2S, and Section 35, T1S, R74W; 168.98 acres, a portion of Pivot 7, located within Sections 2 & 3, T2S, R74W; 246.78 acres, all of Pivot 8, located within Sections 26 & 35, T1S, R74W; 165.53 acres, all of Pivot 9, located within Section 26, T1S, R74W; and 209.12 acres, a portion of Pivot 10, located within Sections 23 & 26, T1S, R74W; and (2) for irrigation of 623.98 acres of land appurtenant to and described as: 21.17 acres in Field 12, located within Section 14, T1S, R74W; 81.03 acres, a portion of Pivot 7, located within Sections 2 & 3, T2S, R74W; 241.13 acres, all of Pivot 5, located within Section 2, T2S, R74W; 78 acres, a portion of Pivot 3, located within Sections 11 & 12, T2S, R74W; 69.58 acres, a portion of Pivot 1, located within Section 12, T2S, R74W; 133 acres, a portion of Pivot 2, located within Section 12, T2S, R74W; Sixth Principle Meridian using the Colorado-New Mexico State Line as a Base Line, all irrigated tracts are described in the Leo Archuleta Survey 1981: Survey of a portion of the Westerly Portion of Sangre De Cristo Land Grant, Taos County, NM.

The described move-from lands are located three to five miles east and southeast of Ute Mountain in North Central NM. The move-from points of diversion and move-from place of use are on land now owned by Agua Nueva, LLC. After severing the water rights, Santa Fe County sold the land to Agua Nueva, LLC, as reflected by Quitclaim Deed recorded with the Taos County Clerk on May 15, 2015.

The applicants seek to change the point of diversion and place and purpose of use of the described 1752.4 afy water right to a proposed surface water diversion to be located on the Rio Grande at the Pueblo de San Ildefonso above the Otwoi gage within 3,000 feet of a point where X=1,672,799 feet and Y=1,773,971 feet NM State Plane (NAD83) Central Zone, to be used for domestic, municipal, livestock, industrial, irrigation, commercial and all uses approved or served by the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water Authority throughout the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System (RWS). The move-to point of diversion is owned by Pueblo de San Ildefonso further described as in the W1/2 of Section 18, T19N, R8W, N.M.P.M., which may include diversion of surface and/or subsurface water within the alluvium. The specific diversion method will be determined in the Record of Decision for the Pojoaque Basin RWS Environmental Impact Statement. The move-to place of use will be the area to be served by the RWS, located in Santa Fe County, NM and as otherwise authorized by the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act, Public Law 111-291, Title VI, 124 Stat. 1335 (“Settlement Act”), to be operated by a Regional Water Authority comprised of the Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Pueblo of Tesuque and Santa Fe County. The move-to place of use is on land owned by various owners in Santa Fe County, NM.

The applicants state the United States Bureau of Reclamation will temporarily operate and maintain the RWS until the RWS is substantially complete as defined in the Settlement Act. The permit requested by this application shall be assigned to the Regional Water Authority pursuant to the Settlement Act.

The applicants also state, this application is for the purpose of providing a firm, reliable supply of water for the Pojoaque Basin RWS to be supplied to Pueblo and non-Pueblo users in Santa Fe County, NM. The application and water supply proposed for transfer herein is an essential part of the supply for the RWS and a requirement of Settlement Act, for purposes of effectuating the Aamodt Settlement Agreement, and settling the water rights claims of the Pueblo of Nambe, Pueblo of Pojoaque, Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Pueblo of Tesuque in the Aamodt adjudication.

Any person, firm or corporation or other entity having standing to file objections or protests shall do so in writing (objection must be legible, signed, and include the writer’s complete name and mailing address). The objection to the approval of the application must be based on: (1) Impairment; if impairment you must specifically identify your water rights; and/or (2) Public welfare/conservation of water; if public welfare or conservation of water within the state of New Mexico, you must show you will be substantially affected. The written protest must be filed, in triplicate, with the Office of the State Engineer, Water Rights Division, P.O. Box 25102, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 87504-5102, within ten (10) days after the date of the last publication of this Notice. Facsimiles (faxes) will be accepted as a valid protest as long as the hard copy is sent within 24-hours of the facsimile. Mailing postmark will he used to validate the 24-hour period. Protests can be faxed to (505) 827-6682. If no valid protest or objection is filed, the State Engineer will evaluate the application in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 72 NMSA 1978.

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