Colorado, Texas, NM water managers to meet on management of the Rio Grande

Tension expected to be thick

SANTA FE, N.M. - The tension is expected to be thick Thursday as top water officials from New Mexico, Colorado and Texas gather for an annual meeting focused on management of the Rio Grande.

Texas and New Mexico are in the middle of a legal battle before the U.S. Supreme Court over groundwater pumping along the border. The federal government has weighed in, claiming that groundwater falls under its jurisdiction and should be considered part of the Rio Grande Project's irrigation water.

It could be years before the court makes a decision, but some experts say the case could set precedent when it comes to state rights in the drought-stricken West.

New Mexico's top water official, State Engineer Scott Verhines, says officials need to focus on solving the region's problems rather than fighting.

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