The rest of the meeting of the Gila/San Francisco Water Commission meeting held Tuesday, May 21, in Deming heard reports and discussed a brochure.

Anthony Gutierrez, GSFWC member representing Grant County, is also a member of the Interstate Stream Commission Input Group, which is advising the ISC on the 16 proposals being studied to utilize an average 14,000 annual acre-feet of water from the Gila and San Francisco rivers and up to $128 million for water-related projects as allocated to the four-county region of Catron, Grant, Hidalgo and Luna by the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act.

He said he didn't have much to add to what Craig Roepke, Interstate Stream Commission deputy director, had already presented and to what was said at last month's GSFWC meeting, which took place soon after the Input Group meeting. Gutierrez said the group had not made any recommendations to the ISC.

GSFWC Chairman Tom Bates read from last month's minutes that M.H. "Dutch" Salmon had stated changes to the river would not be subtle, as a diversion dam would be wall-to-wall in the canyon, and the conveyance for the water could be pipelines up to seven feet in diameter.

Alex Thal asked that the public be kept informed of what was happening in the meetings, so "as not to have misinformation going out."

In a discussion about the Regional Water Plan, the city of Deming has offered to again be fiscal agent for the process, which is updated periodically. "If someone else is interested, let us know," Bates said.

Bates said he had not yet written the letter requesting the GSFWC be the entity to update the regional water plan, and he asked for input.

Treasurer Thal reported the water commission has $7,161.43 in its account, which was derived from dues from the participating entities over several years, until they quit collecting them, because the funding was not being used. An amount up to $500 was set aside to pay Mary Alice Murphy, who is creating a brochure and a PowerPoint presentation for the agency.

Vance Lee, GSFWC member representing Hidalgo County, said he is working with Murphy on the brochure, and that she had asked for suggestions on language the members wanted to see in the brochure.

Several changes in language were suggested.

Lee also reported on a meeting of the Communications Committee. "One of our ideas is to ask Roepke about the possibility of a joint venture between the ISC and the GSFWC to employ a professional public communications person to help the water commission spread our message on water."

Roepke said it was a good idea, but he needed more information, so he could put it into the next budget cycle.

It was suggested that someone from Western New Mexico University or New Mexico State University be involved. Thal cautioned that often graduate students were used. "I'm inclined to put it in Craig's lap." It was also suggested the communications expert develop the PowerPoint, to which Murphy concurred (after the meeting).

Lee asked that the issue be added for action on next month's agenda. Roepke said he could likely have a joint contract ready for the next meeting after interfacing with the ISC. "I could request the funding as soon as the Department of Finance and Administration deposits the next fiscal year's AWSA money."

The next meeting will take place in Deming at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 18, with the Communications Committee meeting just prior.

Live from Silver City

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