By Mary Alice Murphy

The first item of New Mexico Central Arizona Project Entity business on the agenda for the regular meeting of April 6, 2021 was a motion, which was seconded and approved, to come out of the previous closed session. The motion stipulated that nothing other than the limited personnel items and pending, threatened or potential litigation was discussed, and no action was taken.

A quorum was determined. No one had public comment.

Under old business, the item to approve or disapprove changes to the Final Draft Third Amendment to the Joint Powers Agreement between the CAP Entity and the Interstate Stream Commission will continue as a tabled  item from the February meeting. At that meeting, the ISC said it believed it would have draft guidelines for the NM CAP Entity to consult on local water projects by mid-to-late April. 

Entity Executive Director Anthony Gutierrez noted that he put the item on the agenda in potential expectation of receiving the draft guidelines, and for perhaps a discussion on the direction of the NM CAP Entity following the passage of HB 200 at the legislative session.

"But I have not yet received the draft, so I believe the item should continue its tabled status until we have better direction," Gutierrez said.

Howard Hutchinson, representing the San Francisco Soil and Water Conservation District, said the item was not on the ISC April meeting agenda either.

Gutierrez said: "I feel we need to continue with the guidelines for non-diversion projects. We should continue as a consulting entity."

He said he would contact the ISC to see when the draft of the guidelines would be coming.

For the executive director report and round table discussion for entity members only, Gutierrez said he had been putting together all the files and data related to documents from the ISC and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation "in the event a New Mexico Unit can be considered in the future. I think the repository for the files will be the city of Deming, which is our fiscal agent. The files will include information from the past five-plus years of the entity. There are also some records with Grant County from before, when the group was the Gila-San Francisco Water Commission. The files will include the minutes of the meetings, the actions taken, all the correspondence from the ISC and the Bureau of Reclamation, the AECOM final report, the draft EIS (environmental impact statement), all the documents used to draft the EIS, and the final report from Stantec, when we receive it."

Vance Lee, representing Hidalgo County, asked where the entity is with paying Stantec. Gutierrez replied that the engineering firm has not yet invoiced the entity, but it will when it sends the final report.

Allen Campbell, representing the Gila Hotsprings Irrigation Association, said he would like to add to the documents his spreadsheet study on the impacts to water yield from the Whitewater Fire. He said that he has kept up with it since the fire. "It is an extremely interesting amount of data when you compare it to water yields before the fire. I have a substantial amount of data. I think people need to understand that these enormous fires have a very large impact on water yield."

To a question about the EIS, Gutierrez said everything connected to the EIS has been finalized with the ISC and the Bureau of Reclamation. "The only thing left is the Stantec final report."

The next meeting is set tentatively for May 4, 2021, at 10 a.m. at the Grant County Administration Center, depending on the governor's orders and Grant County's policy. 

The meeting adjourned. 

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