The New Mexico Supreme Court will hear arguments next week in a case challenging the state's ability to pump groundwater in southeastern New Mexico.
The state has been pumping water from wells between Artesia and Carlsbad to augment flows in the Pecos River. The pumping is part of a drought management strategy aimed at delivering water to downstream users in New Mexico and Texas.
Other users are complaining that the state's pumping has lowered the area's water table.
The Supreme Court has temporarily blocked a lower court ruling challenging the state's process for transferring water rights to the well field.
An attorney representing ranchers in the area argues that state officials have a conflict of interest in the way they're carrying out transfers.
The court will hear arguments Monday.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.