ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – New Mexico’s senators are introducing a new piece of legislation to help communities use water more efficiently and save what little we have left. The New Mexico Drought Relief Act of 2014 is a result of a water conference last year that brought together stake holders to talk about efficiency and water scarcity. Senator Udall’s team says this bill is a consensus among those stake holders.
“It’s always good to have a conversation about how to improve the way we conserve water or to improve the way we deliver water or to make things better,” says Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Public Information Officer Tom Thorpe.
Representatives with Senator Udall’s office say this piece of legislation is all about efficiency.
It allows the secretary of interior to use $100 million for drought related relief- projects like lining irrigation ditches and canals to reduce water loss or exchanges between water districts in emergency situations.
They say it allows for another $18 million to help the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District make improvements to irrigation ditches and install metering equipment to give people a better idea of where the water’s going and where it’s being lost. Part of that $18 million will also go to fund important projects along the San Acacia.
Udall representatives say the bill will allow farmers to lease extra water rights to the Bureau of Reclamation.
Plus, it could help endangered animals.
The bill would allow the Secretary of the Interior to work with the National Academy of Sciences on a study that would see how different projects might effect the Rio Grande.