structure simply take available water first thus nobody else can be using the water. Water users
in Rio Grande are not harmed by the declaration of a water right.
To restore the Bosque to a sustainable level of health would require more than just water.
Invader species must be reduced and cottonwood trees re-established. Areas of undergrowth
(basically a dumping area) should be cleared. Trails should be maintained. Forest management
for fire protection should be actively engaged. This could be best done if the Bosque were
declared a state park and managed as such.
With adjudication, additional water rights can be purchased for environmental restoration
of other riparian areas. Because the water rights would be purchased, other water users would not
be harmed by this action.
The Rio Grande Silvery Minnow is an endangered species that requires protection by
law. There are many myths about the species and contentious issues about its water use. What is
really curious is that it will not take much water to maintain a permanent instream flow for the
species. Water has to flow down the Rio Grande to Elephant Butte Reservoir to satisfy compact
requirements. If the water required to sustain the fish were released during the entire year and not
completely diverted (and only partially beneficial used as is the case now) the fish population
could be restored to a non-endangered species without harming anyone. The consumptive water
use of a year round release as opposed to current practices has been estimated at 20,000 to
30,000 aft. This is only 4% of the 750,000 aft that must be delivered to the Texas side of the
compact on a normal year. As noted in an early section, adjudication would improve diversion
efficiency of irrigation districts. Improved efficiency of MRGCD would keep an additional
270,000 aft of water in the river, plenty enough for Silvery Minnow.