Letters to the Editor


Thanks to you event successful
In May, the town of Socorro had its annual Relay for Life event. Here in the county assessor’s office we decided to put together a team. We named it the Assess-Inators, which we thought was an appropriate name.

It was our first year being participants in the relay and I think we did pretty well considering the circumstances. By circumstances I mean that the office was undergoing a complete computer system conversion (and there was a lot of overtime and training involved), so we didn’t have as much time as we normally would have had To fundraise.
However, the team was able to have a rummage and bake sale in Gambles parking lot, and a raffle. Both events were a great success and we would like to thank everyone who made those happening successful.
Hence, we would like to send a big thank you to Gambles and Paul Torres for allowing us to have our sale in your parking lot, Favor-It-Things (gift certificates), The Leather Shop (leather vest), Tom’s Barber Shop (hair cut certificates), Western Star Inn (one night’s stay in Albuquerque), El Sombrero (gift certificate), Sofia’s Restaurant (gift certificates), Rick “Chick” Griego for donating the golf putter, Lorraine Trujillo (prayer shawl), New Mexico Tech Golf Course (gift certificates) and Sylvia Trujillo for making our team shirts.
In addition, I would also like to thank the members of our team for all of their hard work. They donated prizes to the raffle, sold tickets, worked the rummage sale, baked goodies for our bake sale, cleaned out their closets to donate to the rummage sale, helped set up our campsite (thank you Stephen for loaning us your canopy) and walked throughout the entire relay.
Relay for Life is an extremely important organization that raises money for the American Cancer Society in their fight against cancer. Relay also gives people a chance to commemorate loved ones who have lost the battle to the dreaded disease or who have overcome the fight.
Without all of the team members making a commitment to help, we would have not been able to raise the money that we did. It was truly a team effort and we look forward to being involved again next year.
Donna South and the Assess-Inators
(Julie, Berna, Henry, Sam, Elaine, Oscar, Chris, Berlinda, Debbie, Amanda, JoAnn, Leslie, Virginia, Shania, Kyle, Vanessa, Joe, Guillermo, Anthony, Stephen, Luana, Deanna, Alizabeth, Lorena, Rufie, Julia, Patty, Didi, Daren, Denise, Pat, Jeanne, Linda, Patricia, Yvonne, Cory and Leanne)

Let me clarify my comments
I would like to correct a few mistakes concerning the July 27, 2011 article “A Fluid Situation” by T.S. Last.
First the article quotes me as saying there are currently 25,000 to 30,000 acres irrigated under the MRGCD water bank. The correct number is about 2,500 to 3,000 acres districtwide, which is about 4 percent of total acres irrigated. However, I have heard but cannot confirm that there are as many as 5,000 acres of pre-1907 water rights that have been sold and are leased back to the property owner. At some time in the future the buyer of these rights will put them to a different use and the landowner will need to arrange for a different water right if they wish to continue irrigating.
Also, I was quoted as saying that the MRGCD is banking pre-1907 water rights, which is incorrect. The reader may be interested in knowing that there are three or four types of water rights in the Middle Rio Grande Valley depending on how one views them. The first and most senior right is the Six Middle Rio Grande Pueblos Prior and Paramount right which totals 8,346 acres. (The pueblos also have 12,600 acres of lands which are described as ”newly reclaimed lands” which have the same priority date as the conservancy right described below.)
The next most senior right is the pre-1907, which would come from land that has been irrigated continuously since 1907. This right is transferable and may be sold by the property owner if they can prove they do indeed hold this right.
The third right is the conservancy right, which is held under the MRGCD permit. The permit was issued by the state engineer sometime in the late 1920s and is junior to the other two rights and may not be transferred from the land or sold by the landowner. There are currently about 55,000 acres of pre-1907 and conservancy rights being irrigated in the Middle Rio Grande Valley.
The fourth right would be the MRGCD water bank right, which is junior to all of the other rights and would be the first to be curtailed in a water short year. The water bank consists of conservancy rights (not pre-1907 rights) which have been abandoned.
The best way to explain this process is to picture a farmer anywhere in the district who decided to quit irrigating and built houses on all of his land. Let’s say he had 100 acres of land. Of those 100 acres let’s say that 50 acres were pre-1907 and 50 were conservancy rights.
The farmer would have transferred the pre-1907 rights, but since the conservancy right is nontransferable he would have had to abandon that right. This is the conservancy right that the MRGCD is identifying and putting into the water bank.
Water bank rights can then be leased at a higher rate to irrigators who farm land which has had its pre-1907 rights transferred. These abandoned conservancy rights are the rights that are important that we identify, otherwise they will be lost to irrigators forever.
As somebody else said, “It’s complicated”. I hope this clarifies the intent of my comments in the original article. Other than the couple of inaccuracies, the article was very well written.
Chris Sichler, San Antonio