Gila Bills Introduced in 2015 Legislative Session

February 11, 2014

Legislators introduced four bills over the past week related to the Arizona Water Settlements Act planning process and reform of the Interstate Stream Commission.

This suite of legislation will advance efforts to implement cost-effective, non-diversion alternatives to meet SWNM’s water needs rather than a $1 billion Gila River diversion project, require fiscal responsibility and transparency in the ISC’s Gila River planning process, and reform the structure of the ISC to depoliticize the state’s water planning and management decisions, like the decisions over diverting the Gila River.

Senator Howie Morales (D-Grant, Catron, Socorro) introduced SB461 (Fact Sheet) to require that at least $77 million of Arizona Water Settlement Act funds be spent on non-diversion alternatives for high-priority community water needs in Southwest New Mexico.

Senator Joseph Cervantes (D-Doña Ana) introduced SB455 (Fact Sheet), which requires the Interstate Stream Commission to provide a written report to the Legislature by November 1 that demonstrates the New Mexico CAP Entity has the technical, legal and financial capacity to build, operate and maintain the Gila River diversion project.

Senator Wirth has introduced SB467, which would make the Interstate Stream Commission more representative of water users around the state and less partisan by limiting the number of commissioners appointed by the governor, limiting the number of commissioners representing any single party and requiring membership by a broader range of water stakeholders.

SB 542 (Fact Sheet), sponsored by Senator Sander Rue (R-Bernalillo), was introduced Tuesday and would require public participation, greater transparency and accountability from the Interstate Stream Commission in its AWSA decision-making.

The bills have been assigned committees and will be heard in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned on the Protect the Gila River Facebook page to find out how you can help get these important bills through the legislature!