Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates (formerly the Water Assembly)


MRG Regional Water Plan Update

                         Public Meetings

           On Draft RWP Update

             Tuesday March 15

         and Monday, March 21

Background - The Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan was accepted by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) in 2004.   During the years since then, implementation of that Plan has been spotty.  Numerous changes to the water situation have occurred, both within the Region and externally.  Having led the development of the 2004 Regional Water Plan, the Water Assembly has started to address the needed update to the Plan. .

Baseline Data -The 2004 RWP identified an unsustainable 55,000 acre-foot excess of consumptive (evaporative) use relative to renewable supply.  As we learned during the initial planning process a credible Water Budget has to be the basis of any meaningful planning.  Accordingly, the first step is to understand how the Region now stands relative to its deficit spending of water.  The initial Water Budget was developed by El Grupo Técnico, a set of thirty some experts in various related fields.  The Water Assembly has tasked El Grupo Técnico Dos (Drs. Frank Titus, Bruce Thomson, Jesse Roach, and others) with developing a revised Water Budget, updated to reflect new knowledge and changes to the Region since the original was published in 1999.  

Initial Processes - The ISC published an Updated Regional Water Planning Handbook in December 2013 to serve as guidelines to preparing updates to New Mexico regional water plans.  The ISC's plan was to have all sixteen regional water plans all updated and the state water plan also updated by the end of 2015.  The ISC's guidance flyer and associated presentations indicate that the ISC would do most of the planning update work in 2014 (technical data, supply and demand, legal issues, demographic changes and economic issues) and that the regions will do the balance in 2015 (public participation and project/policy update) via "steering committees" if funding becomes available.  The Water Assembly and (MRCOG's) Water Resources Board are working to determine how to create a competent update to the existing Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan within the context of the ISC's concepts.

2015 Activities - In early 2015, the ISC asked the MRCOG to create a diverse Steering Committee, making sure there would be representation from a listed set of stakeholder types. Following up on a set of RWP historical perspective briefings from the Water Assembly, the Steering Committee met bi-weekly through the spring of 2015, with ongoing advice from the Water Assembly.  While these meetings were open to the public, there was no meaningful outreach to obtain public attendance.  The ISC's stated objective was for the Steering Committee to provide input to the ISC on the public participation and recommended policies, programs, and projects for the regions  In June of 2015, the Steering Committee provided its products to the ISC.  

Input Submissions to ISC - In early June, the Steering Committee agreed upon a work-product, being a ranking of progress against the recommendations in the 2004 RWP.  The ISC's consultant added a tabulation of potential projects from various ICIPs to be included in the RWP Update, and a draft Public Involvement Plan, neither of which had been approved by the Steering Committee prior to submission to the ISC.  The Water Assembly submitted, through the Steering Committee. a six-part document including a cover letter, a set of guiding principles for the RWP update, a set of RWP update considerations, a set of recommended future strategies, a collection of technical data, and a summary of the sixteenth Water Assembly convocation on climate disruption and our water future.              

2016 Activities - On January 22, 2016, the ISC sent parts of their draft Regional Water Plan Update to the Steering Committee and a few other folks.  Links to that draft material, and other potentially relevant data appear in the "Report" paragraphs below. To obtain public input on their draft Update of the Regional Water Plan, the ISC will facilitate three public meetings in the region, the first of which was conducted on Tuesday, February 9, 2016 from 1:30 pm  to 4:00 pm..  The location was the Office of the State Engineer building, 5550 San Antonio Drive NE in Albuquerque (1/4 mile east of I-25 on Ellison / San Antonio / Harper).  The February 9 agenda and meeting summary .  The Water Assembly submitted a two-page comment on the ISC's draft RWP update for the Middle Rio Grande Region.

The Steering Committee will accept submitted comments on the ISC's draft RWP Update until March 11.   Click here to submit comments.  The Steering Committee will review and coalesce received comments during its Public Meeting at 1:30 pm on March 15 at the Dekker/Perich/Sabatini Offices (click for map).   The ISC will accept comment from the Steering Committee and the public when it holds its next-to-last Public Meeting at 1:30 pm on March 21 at the Jerry Cline Tennis Center 7205 Constitution Ave NE, Albuquerque (click for map).  NOTE:  LOCATION HAS BEEN CHANGED FROM OSE/ISC OFFICE

The Draft Regional Water Plan Update - Following are links to the ISC's mid-February 2016 posting of the Regional Water Plan Update

  A.  Executive Summary -- still to be written      
  B.  Introduction
  C.  Public Involvement in the Planning Process -- still to be written,
Early draft by ISC consultant
  D.  Description of the Planning Region
  E.  Legal Issues
  F.  Water Supply
  G.  Water Demand
  H.  Identified Gaps between Supply and Demand
  I.   Implementation of Strategies to Meet Future Water Demand --  
              still to be written,
Early draft by Steering Committee,
Revision of early draft by ISC consultant
Re-Revision of early draft by ISC consultant 3-3-16
       Figures for chapters F, G, and H
       Tables for chapters F, G, and H

ISC Instructions and Guidance - Following are links to various instructional documents from the ISC

      RWP Update Handbook -  December 2013
      Future Strategies Checklist
      Guidance Document #1 - Public Comment
      Guidance Document #2 - Implementation of Strategies to Meet  
          Future Water Demand
      Administrative Water Supply Handout
      Letter to the Public from ISC about 2015 Meetings and Process -
          November 2015
      Acceptance Criteria for ISC Regional Water Plan Updates - 2015

Related Water Assembly Documents - As part of its role in observing and advising the ISC and Steering Committee processes, the Water Assembly has developed and provided several ancillary documents.  In December 2013, we provided the ISC with a set of concerns about the impending RWP Update process.  Early in the Steering Committee meeting series, we briefed the Steering Committee on the 2004 RWP process and content and provided some thoughts about the update process.  We also provided our perception of progress against the 2004 RWP recommendations and a list of open issues.  In June 2015, we provided a memoranadum describing some concerns about the RWP Update process.      

Relevant Studies, Analyses, and Reports - The Middle Rio Grande Region (Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia Counties) and Basin (Cochiti Reservoir to Elephant Butte Reservoir) have been the beneficiaries of lots of applicable studies, analyses, and reports which should not be ignored.  Click here to access a selection of those documents.



More... - For additional information, please contact Bob Wessely, President of the Water Assembly, at Wessely@SciSo.com, or (505) 454-0555. 

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