Home News Local News Interstate Stream Commission considers pumping in Roswell artesian basin

Interstate Stream Commission considers pumping in Roswell artesian basin

Hannah Riseley-White with the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, seen during a June 2019 meeting. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission is preparing for the possibility of pumping groundwater at its wells in Chaves and Eddy counties to provide water to the Carlsbad Irrigation District for its 2021 irrigation season.

“Given current extended climate forecasts for the next several months, the forecast is for continued dry conditions, so it looks very likely that we will need to pump,” said Hannah Riseley-White, Pecos River bureau chief with the Interstate Stream Commission.

She said pumping at Seven Rivers Well Field near Brantley Dam and the Lake Arthur Well Field will occur if the commission determines this fall or thereafter that additional water supplies are needed for the Carlsbad Irrigation District.

The 2003 Pecos Settlement Compact, a legal agreement among various water districts and irrigation districts, mandates certain levels of water supplies for the CID and other entities. The commission drilled the Lake Arthur and Seven Rivers augmentation wells in what is called the southern portion of the Roswell artesian basin as part of the settlement requirements to ensure that water supplies are kept at required levels.

On Sept. 8, the Interstate Stream Commission asked staff and board members of the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District to participate in a working group to discuss issues.

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“We are asking PVACD to bring their expertise to bear in assisting us to make decisions related to well field operations and aquifer monitoring,” she said.

Riseley-White said that the commission will make efforts to inform the public and answer questions prior to any pumping.

“As things evolve this fall, it is likely that we will set up a webinar to provide additional information to interested parties,” she said.

A few agricultural producers in Chaves County spoke at public meetings in the past to say that noticeably lower water supplies were available for wells at their properties when pumping at the augmentation wells was occurring.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.