U.S. Supreme Court Rules Water Lawsuit Against New Mexico Can Proceed
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday ordered that Texas’ complaint against New Mexico be filed, ruling that Texas can proceed with its lawsuit against New Mexico. Texas initiated its original action against New Mexico in 2013 alleging that New Mexico has violated and continues to violate the Rio Grande Compact, an interstate water contract between Texas, New Mexico and Colorado, by allowing illegal and unauthorized diversions and use, in New Mexico, of water apportioned to Texas. Texas asks that New Mexico be ordered to stop these illegal diversions and to compensate Texas for damages it has incurred because of New Mexico’s unlawful activities.
By taking the case, the Supreme Court confirms that Texas has established that its case has merit and that it raises important and serious issues that should be addressed by the Supreme Court. The order allows New Mexico to file a motion to dismiss the action, which is a procedural right that is normally afforded parties in litigation.
“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has accepted Texas’ case against New Mexico. This is an important step in our case. We are prepared to move the lawsuit forward,” said Pat Gordon, the Texas Rio Grande Compact Commissioner.
“The Supreme Court’s acceptance of the lawsuit is an acknowledgement that Texas has met its burden that the case has merit, and that it should be handled by the Court,” said Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., P.E. “We believe that New Mexico is in essence withholding water that is due Texas under the Rio Grande Compact, and that the Compact must be upheld.”
“We are grateful that the Supreme Court has taken this important action,” said Texas Water Development Board Chairman Carlos Rubinstein. “The Rio Grande is an important part of the water supply for Texas’ Border Regions, and this water should be available for use.”