Letters to the Editor (6/20/2013)

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Augustin Plains Ranch project hearing should be allowed to take place

Editor:
I am writing about the dire water situation that the village of Magdalena now finds itself in as its well has dried up and the possibility that other communities in the area could follow suit. New Mexico is running out of water and unfortunately, conservation alone cannot solve this problem.
The smart, state of the art management of the massive underground aquifer located beneath the plains of San Augustin and which belongs to all New Mexicans is the best solution available to the residents of the plains and those of the Rio Grande Valley.
Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC proposes to salvage lost rainwater, reach deep into the aquifer and build a pipeline to deliver that water to communities who are most in need. All the local communities along or near the pipeline right of way could receive their water from this new source at minimal costs compared to going it alone and drilling ever deeper wells. By working together, the communities would be able to afford the latest technologies and protect themselves from surprises and emergencies.
How much water is in the aquifer? How much water can be reclaimed to the aquifer by capturing rainwater run off? How much water can be sustainably produced? What impacts will be seen to the land and nearby wells, and how should they be avoided or mitigated? What are the best technologies for the project? How much will it cost? How will it be structured financially? These are all very important questions that I propose we answer together. That is why we continue to ask for a fair hearing with the State Engineer.  Now is the time to answer these questions.
I invite the local communities of Catron and Socorro counties to take part in this extremely important discussion. Together, we can answer these questions and develop solutions for the delivery of this water that is so near to us, and yet currently untouchable because of the investment that is needed to tap it and transport it.
If you would like to be a part of this discussion and would like to find out about this proposed project and what it could potentially provide for your community, please write to your elected officials and let them know that you want answers. Let them know that you support this project receiving a fair hearing from the New Mexico State Engineer.
With your support, a long-term water solution could be only a few years away. We all have questions. Let’s answer them together.

Michel Jichlinski
Project Director