Water War: Texas vs. New Mexico
Optimizing return on national resources
I have been writing that the top purpose of federal government is to optimize return on national resources. I have said that this initiative begins from the bottom up, district by district, and state by state. “Resources” include natural resources and human resources that are resident in these defined boundaries.
Of course, we overlay districts and states with cities, villages, municipalities of various sizes and including county governments creating a complex of governance.
Natural resources include clean air, water, land, and materials of all kinds.
In my theory, Congressional Representatives address optimization within their boundaries, State Senators address optimization within their boundaries and both Senators and Representatives work in collaboration with Governors to address state optimization.
Here is the catch; neither natural resources nor people have anything to do with government-defined boundaries. Here is what I mean.
1. Natural resources are created by acts of nature and exist and flow wherever physical science determined.
2. People residence and movement are constrained only by their individual means and they are not confined to defined boundaries. In fact, people movement can cause the boundaries to be redefined.
A part of government strategy should be to encourage people to align with resources such that the combination is optimized.
This discussion was triggered by some recent news; parts of Texas and New Mexico share the same aquifer. New Mexico says that Texas is consuming more water than their fair share and is irresponsible. The dispute between two states over water lands in Congress and the Courts eventually to resolve water use.
Here is a question to ponder, is not water a national resource? Should not the consumption and distribution of water be governed by national policy? To what extent is clean water a national regulatory issue?
“TEXAS V. NEW MEXICO, 482 U. S. 124 (1987)
U.S. Supreme Court
Texas v. New Mexico, 482 U.S. 124 (1987)
Texas v. New Mexico
No. 65, Orig.
Argued April 29, 1987
Decided June 8, 1987
482 U.S. 124
ON EXCEPTIONS TO REPORT OF SPECIAL MASTER
The 1949 Pecos River Compact between New Mexico and Texas divides the water of the Pecos River between the States, but, because of the river's irregular flow, does not specify a particular amount of water to be delivered by New Mexico to Texas each year. Instead, Article III(a) of the Compact provides that
"New Mexico shall not deplete by man's activities the flow of the Pecos River at the New Mexico-Texas state line below an amount which will give to Texas a quantity of water equivalent to that available to Texas under the 1947 condition."
In 1974, Texas filed this original action to resolve a dispute between the States with respect to the "1947 condition" and other matters. A Special Master was appointed, and this Court previously adopted his report specifying the methodology to be used in calculating Texas' entitlement to water. The case is now before the Court on both parties' exceptions to the Master's recent report calculating the acre-feet shortfall of water that should have been delivered to Texas for the years 1950-1983, and recommending that, in addition to performing its ongoing obligation under the Compact, New Mexico be ordered to make up the accumulated shortfall by delivering a specified amount of water each year for 10 years, with a penalty in kind, i.e., "water interest," for any bad-faith failure to deliver the additional amounts.”