The State Engineer has denied an application to pump 54-thousand acre feet of water per year from an aquifer west of Socorro. That's about half of Albuquerque's annual water use.
The application was submitted by Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC in 2007 and quickly met with resistance from over a thousand stakeholders, including the Interstate Stream Commission, the state Department of Game and Fish and several Pueblos.
Still the process was allowed to move forward for years…until a hearing examiner heard arguments on a motion to dismiss in February.
State Engineer Scott Verhines says the application was ultimately denied because it was overly broad and did not identify a clear purpose for the water. Opponents say it amounted to a speculative water grab.