Water laws no longer reflect dwindling resource

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By Sherry Robinson

Faces were pretty long during a recent meeting of the interim legislative Water and Natural Resources Committee and not because of the gloomy reports on snowpack and reservoir levels, the smoke hovering from wildfires, and the grim struggles among water users. No, it was the growing consensus among experts that this isn’t a drought; climate data tell us that the last 50 years have been wetter than normal. The new normal is also the old normal.
Writing in a recent column, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, an Albuquerque Democrat, launched into the implications of getting used to one to three inches of rain a year instead of the six to 10 inches of past years.
That’s a good discussion to have, of course, but the same experts have been telling us this for several years. They have practically talked themselves hoarse, and we don’t hear it because we’d rather hear “drought” than “desertification.” At least drought holds out the possibility of relief.
This dawning realization could work its way into the lawsuit Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado, the latest attempt by Texas to squeeze New Mexico like an orange.

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