People Speak Out for the Gila River


The Interstate Stream Commission will decide in November 2014 if it will move forward with proposals to divert Gila River water or not under the Arizona Water Settlements Act. By the end of the year, the state of New Mexico must notify the Secretary of the Interior if it will pursue a diversion project. Stakeholders from across New Mexico have been speaking out to tell Governor Martinez and the Interstate Stream Commission to oppose a Gila River diversion and instead support non-diversion alternatives that can meet southwest New Mexico’s long-term water needs at a fraction of the cost of a billion dollar Gila River diversion project.


Former ISC Director, Norm Gaume

Former Interstate Stream Commission director, Norm Gaume, has evaluated the ISC’s Gila River diversion proposals, Bureau of Reclamation Gila River diversion alternatives, and non-diversion alternatives being considered as part of the AWSA planning process. For more information on how you can help with Norm’s lawsuits, visit Gila Wild Defense Fund.

The following list is a compilation of important documents related to his analyses:

Norm Gaume Notice of Violation re: NM CAP Entity Open Meetings Act Violation

Norm Gaume Complaint re: ISC Open Meetings Act Violations

Norm Gaume Testimony before Interim Water and Natural Resources Committee – October 6, 2014

Norm Gaume Comments on Bohannon Huston Phase II Preliminary Engineering Report on Gila River Diversion, Conveyance and Storage Alternatives

Peter Coha, Norm Gaume, Peter Coha Powerpoint Presentation – New Mexico Unit of the CAP AWSA Gila River Legally Divertible Water Calculations/Issues/Summaries

Jim Brainard, Norm Gaume, Peter Coha Powerpoint Presentation – A Model for Determining Usable Water from Two Gila River Diversion and Storage Alternatives

Gila River Diversion Costs Could Exceed $1 Billion – Memorandum

Media Advisory: Gila River Diversion Costs Could Exceed $1 Billion

Norm Gaume Comments on Bureau of Reclamation Appraisal Report of AWSA Tier 2 Proposals and Other Diversion Storage Proposals

Norm Gaume Earth Matters Radio Interview on Gila Diversion Project Fatal Flaws – May 20, 2014

Norm Gaume Testimony to the Gila-San Francisco Water Commission – May 20, 2014

Norm Gaume Report to the Interstate Stream Commission April 30, 2014

Norm Gaume Evaluation & Recommendations to Senate Conservation Committee

Gila River diversion plan ‘fatally flawed,’ water expert says








New Mexico Legislators

Legislators introduced four bills in the 2015 legislative session 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 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.

“The low funding levels set by the Interstate Stream Commission would make it nearly impossible for local communities and irrigators to access the AWSA funds for these high-priority projects,” Morales said. “Non-diversion projects meet our future water needs for far less money than the $1 billion diversion project.” MORE

Picture 10Businesses

In January 2014, more than 300 New Mexico businesses, including the statewide New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, the Las Cruces Green Chamber, and Southwester New Mexico Green Chamber,  sent a letter to Governor Susana Martinez asking her to reject expensive and unpopular water diversion projects as she decides best approaches to secure southwest New Mexico’s future water supply and to strongly consider cost-effective, common sense alternatives.

New Mexico businesses have voiced their support for Gila River protection before. In February 2012, business owners in southwest New Mexico, representing over 120 businesses, the Southwest New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, and employing more than 400 people, urged the Interstate Stream Commission to approve responsible, cost-effective non-diversion alternatives for evaluation during the 2012 – 2013 assessment phase of the Arizona Water Settlements Act (AWSA) planning process.

Business Letter to Governor Martinez

Business Letter to Interstate Stream Commission

Video – The Gila River: It’s Our Business


Sportsmen Organizations

Sportsmen organizations, representing 20,000 members from across New Mexico, urged Governor Martinez in November 2013 to oppose Gila River diversion proposals being considered under the Arizona Water Settlements Act.

Sportsmen’s Letter to Governor Martinez

KSFR Interview with Jason Amaro, New Mexico Wildlife Federation Board Member



Outdoor Recreation Groups

Outdoor recreation groups like the Adobe Whitewater Club (above) are concerned about the impacts to Gila River boating opportunities given that the  Gila River diversion structure is proposed for the area below the Turkey Creek confluence popular for river runners.

Adobe Whitewater Club Members Sign Letter to Governor Martinez



eventsLocal Youth and Community Members

People from across New Mexico have voiced their opposition to a Gila River diversion project. In October 2013, Aldo Leopold Charter School tenth grader, Ella Kirk, delivered to the Interstate Stream Commission her petition signed by more than 2000 people (both on-line and hard copy) to approve non-diversion alternatives to protect the Gila River under the AWSA.  She delivered a petition with over 6000 signatures to Governor Susana Martinez in February 2014. The Santa Rose de Lima Church Youth Group from Las Cruces visited the Gila River in October 2013 and then testified before New Mexico State Legislators about their experiences and desire to protect the state’s last free-flowing river. They returned in July 2014 during Latino Conservation Action Week to visit the site of a proposed Gila River diversion.

Gila River Outing for Latino Conservation Action Week

Silver City Student Delivers Petition to Governor Susana Martinez

Petition to Governor Susana Martinez – Protect the Gila River by Supporting Non-Diversion Alternatives

Petition to ISC Chairman Jim Dunlap – Don’t Divert the Gila River Through the AWSA

Las Cruces Area Youth Hike Gila River to Learn About Preservation