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planning & decision process
Interstate Stream
Commission Policy
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Reflecting New Mexico State statutes, Congress directed in the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act that the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission approve any expenditure of monies or contracts for water received by New Mexico in the settlement. Even before the Act was signed into law, the Commission adopted a policy to guide it through the planning and decision process:

"The Interstate Stream Commission recognizes the unique and valuable ecology of the Gila Basin. In considering any proposal for water utilization under Section 212 of the Arizona Water Settlements Act, the Commission will apply the best available science to fully assess and mitigate the ecological impacts on Southwest New Mexico, the Gila River, its tributaries and associated riparian corridors, while also considering the historic uses of and future demands for water in the Basin and the traditions, cultures and customs affecting those uses."

Under State statute, the Governor is also responsible for ensuring the equitable distribution of interstate waters. This policy was adopted by the Commission and approved by the Office of the Governor, with the further directive that the planning and decision process be executed within a fully inclusive and transparent public involvement process.

This process will plan and decide how best to utilize the benefits received in the 2004 Arizona Water Settlements Act. To resolve the potential conflicts between protection of the Gila Basin ecology and present and future demands for water will be neither easy nor simple. The responsibility for the first critical step in this process, providing the citizens of New Mexico the information they need with respect to possible impacts on endangered species, lies with the Gila-San Francisco Coordinating Committee.