NM Farmers Selling Water To Oil And Gas Developers

Jul 1, 2013

In the face of crippling drought, some Eddy County farmers are selling their supplemental well water to companies drilling for oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing, a technique that requires huge volumes of water.

New Mexico Interstate Stream Commissioner Jim Wilcox tells the Carlsbad Current-Argus he understands why farmers are selling the water, since there's not enough for what they need and they "have to have some income coming in."

But he says he worries that the region could be "losing water that can't be recovered."

He says farmers have to go through the State Engineers Office to sell the water.

Jim Davis, who has been selling his water commercially for years, told the newspaper some well owners are skirting public notification laws and over-pumping. Davis says he works hard to follow the state's water laws.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.