Special Master recommends approval of Rio Grande settlement agreement in Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado Case

The Rio Grande
Spread the love

July 7, 2023 — On Monday this week, the Special Master issued his third interim report in the Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado case before the U.S. Supreme Court (see the docket on SCOTUS blogOpens in a new tab.). The proposed settlement agreement for water-sharing on the Rio Grande was characterized as fair, reasonable and consistentOpens in a new tab., according to the Special Master, who recommended that the U.S Supreme Court approve the settlement.

The dispute arose close to a decade ago over Texas’ allegation that New Mexico’s groundwater pumping was pulling water out of the river, depriving Texas of its rights under the 1938 Rio Grande Compact. The states reached the proposed settlement last year, but the federal government objected. Last October, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado had reached an agreement in the form of a proposed Consent Decree, but the proposed decree was under seal. It was finally unsealed January 23, with attorneys confident the Special Master and the Supreme Court would approve it.

The SCOTUS docket does not indicate when the Supreme Court might take up the recommendation.

New Mexico water officials have said implementing the settlement will require reducing water use through a combination of efforts, including paying farmers not to farm, and making infrastructure improvements.  These anticipated cutbacks have led to worries by the farming community.

PDF files for pleadings in the case can be found hereOpens in a new tab..


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Recent Posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Skip to content