The dry Rio Grande riverbed is where Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) met with leaders from Las Cruces and NMSU Tuesday to introduce a new report on water in the Mesilla Valley. The paper comes as a result of a water conference held in 2012.
"This paper ensures that the work of that conference will live on and will help New Mexicans adapt to this ongoing drought," said Sen. Udall.
The Rio Grande River cuts through the desert with a name that doesn’t mean what it says. But Sen. Tom Udall says he does not intend for this new report to just sit on a shelf. He believes action will come of it.
“Really what we’re talking about there is designing communities so that the water goes down into the soil rather than getting into big runoff situations, and so what you’re talking about is recharging the aquifer and not having flooding situations,” said Sen. Udall.
The senator knows there's one woman who doesn’t go to the polls on any election day.
"It's an issue that...at its core, we're talking Mother Nature and we don't have control,” said Sen. Udall.
But, he is confident legislation like his “Stormwater Protection Act" will relieve some of the pressure.
“We do have control over working with each other and cooperating and then designing solutions that we can all move down the road on and that's the real essence of what we want to do here."
Dr. Phillip King of NMSU’s Civil Engineering department worked on research behind the report that goes back to August of 2012.
"From the national labs to farmers, the city of Las Cruces…and these are people many of whom have lawsuits going against one another,” said Dr. King.
It's a situation that places Las Cruces in a rift.
"…so we have competition from Texas and New Mexico.”
But just like it's not hard to walk cross the Rio Grande River, the water issue is a dividing line that -- according to Dr. King -- grew more and more narrow while working on the report.
Even so, king still hopes for some water 12 months from now on the banks of the Rio Grande.
"I sure hope I get to be out here next year with a bank to bank river and a three foot allotment, but I'm not counting on it," said King.