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IMPROVING NEW MEXICO’S WATER MANAGEMENT - page 28 / 47

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Figure 2: Agricultural Water Values (seasonal) and Water Right Values

San Juan

seasonal

$56

water right

$500

Northern Irrigated Areas seasonal $73 water right $1,100

Canadian River

Middle Rio Grande seasonal $80 water right $1,250

Socorro

Arch Hurley seasonal $199 water right $3,800

Pecos River De Baca seasonal $113 water right $2,250

seasonal

$34

water right

$500

Rio Grande River

Roswell Hagerman seasonal $115 water right $2,850

Gila River

Artesia seasonal $109 water right $1,850

Carlsbad Irrigation District

seasonal

$63

water right

$500

Elephant Butte Irrigation District seasonal $100 water right $2,700

Comparing Figures 1 and 2 indicates the significant gains from trade of water rights. A

farmer in the Middle Rio Grande values a water right used in agriculture at $1,250 per aft.

Albuquerque would be willing to pay up to $4,800 per acre-foot. The actual selling price would

depend on market conditions. Let us assume the going market price is $4,000 per aft. This is

approximately the price of a senior right in the Middle Grande. The farmer would gain $2,750 in

net income over what he or she makes using the water in farming. Note that the farmer does not

have to quit farming; he or she could sell 25% of his water rights and go to more efficient

irrigation and growing low water using crops. The point is that selling water right is his or her

decision. Albuquerque also benefits from this deal by obtaining more water to satisfy demand.

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