Nuestro Rio of NM Welcomes Increased DOI Scrutiny for Flawed Gila Diversion Project, Asks Governor Martinez to Step in Now

For Immediate Release
Contact: Senator Gerald Ortiz Y Pino, 505-243-1509

Nuestro Rio of NM Welcomes Increased DOI Scrutiny for Flawed Gila Diversion Project, Asks Governor Martinez to Step in Now

(ALBUQUERQUE) – This week, Nuestro Rio of New Mexico both applauded the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) recent move to thoroughly evaluate proposed water-management alternatives for the Gila River and again asked that Governor Martinez finally step in to stop the waste associated with the hefty costs incurred by this largely unfunded project.

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, the DOI signed an agreement with the New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity (CAP Entity) which set in motion the process for evaluating the merits of Gila River diversion that includes both the economic and ecological considerations.

“With independent analysts estimating the costs of Gila diversion at $1 billion and New Mexico taxpayers on the hook for 90 percent of it, official scrutiny of this costly project is sorely required,” said Senator Howie Morales of Silver City, NM. “There are many hurdles for this project to cross and the project itself is shaping up to be an expensive mistake for New Mexicans. Our taxpayer dollars are clearly better spent elsewhere and it is time for Governor Martinez to step in. ”

Recent findings by the independent Project on Government Oversight indicated that the cost of Gila diversion, as proposed by the CAP Entity, would be $1 billion.

“Taxpayers in New Mexico are watching precious funding go towards evaluating a diversion that we already know won’t work. Governor Martinez has been silent on this project long enough. Nuestro Rio, and our members, ask that our tax dollars go toward smart projects. There are plenty of needs in New Mexico,” said Representative Javier Martinez of Albuquerque, NM.

“Our lands and precious water resources are gifts to be passed on so that future generations of New Mexicans may enjoy them,” Senator Gerald Ortiz Y Pino of Albuquerque, NM added. “We are confident that the costs of this ill-planned diversion project will outweigh any benefits on both economic and ecological grounds. It makes more sense to abandon the project now before millions more are spent.”

As a part of this process the DOI will begin its review next year with the process not concluding until 2019.

Nuestro Rio is a regional organization committed to preserving the Colorado River and its tributaries, including the Gila River. In New Mexico, it is made up of elected officials and opinion leaders who value the preservation of these rare and historic waterways.