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Wirth wades into Gila River fight, aims to delay diversion

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Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:20 pm

Southwestern New Mexico has a potential new water supply, a rare treasure in this dry state. But tapping into the resource means diverting the Gila River, the last free-flowing river in the state.

Under a 2004 settlement agreement with Arizona, New Mexico has rights to some 14,000 acre-feet of water from the Gila and one of its tributaries. The deadline for deciding what to do with the water is at the end of this year. If New Mexico doesn’t use it, the water will keep flowing down the river into Arizona, and the state will forgo millions of dollars in federal funds available for construction of a diversion project.

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