June 20, 2019

Udall: Time to Move on from Gila River Diversion Project

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall issued the following statement after the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission’s (ISC) recent meeting about the Gila River Diversion Project:

“The last free-flowing river in the Southwest, the Gila is a jewel and deserves to be protected for future generations. When consideration of a diversion began in 2015, I said that ‘based on everything I've seen so far, this project simply isn't environmentally sound or financially realistic.’ After a three and half year process, costing millions of dollars, I am now even more convinced that further study of a project will not cure these fatal flaws. Many New Mexicans are rightly concerned about the extremely high cost of this project and the damage that it could do to our thriving tourism and outdoor recreation economy – not to mention the damage it could do to a quintessentially Western and American river. To sacrifice the Gila to a project that the state can't afford and that might not ever yield enough water would be irresponsible. The $54 million in federal settlement funding, plus the remaining deposits, would be much better spent on more cost-effective, high priority community and agricultural water and restoration projects in southwestern New Mexico.”