Company Tries Again To Tap NM Plains For Water

Jul 16, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A commercial venture that sought to drill dozens of wells in western New Mexico in hopes of shipping the water to more populated areas is making another run at getting approval for the $600 million project.

Augustin Plains Ranch filed a new application with the state engineer's office Monday.

The plan calls for drilling 37 wells capable of pumping more than 17 billion gallons of water a year for up to 300 years to supplement dwindling supplies in the Rio Grande Valley. The company would capture runoff from the surrounding hills and use that to help recharge the aquifer.

The state rejected the company's previous application, saying the effects couldn't be reasonably evaluated because the proposal was too vague.

Critics have called the effort a modern-day water grab.