Regional
9:08 am
Sat March 3, 2012

New Mexico Grapples With The Future Of The Gila River

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Gila River flows through the mountains of southwestern New Mexico, across the high desert and through the heart of Arizona, providing water to farmers and communities along the way.

Changes could be in store for the Gila, the last free-flowing river in New Mexico.

New Mexico is on the verge of accessing billions of gallons of river water through a series of settlements that stretch back decades. Along with access to the water comes federal funding to help develop that water.

The question water managers and residents are grappling with is how to best accomplish that.

Interstate Stream Commission Chairman Jim Dunlap says the matter is serious and he expects the outcome to have far-reaching, long-lasting effects.

The commission is considering nearly 20 proposals, from diversion and storage plans to watershed restoration. A final decision is due in 2014.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.