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Save the Gila River

Saving the Gila River

A pending DIVERSION THREATENS THE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY OF NEW MEXICO’S LAST FREE-FLOWING RIVER


The Gila River, one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest, is home to the nation’s first designated wilderness area. History abounds in and around the Gila River. Geronimo, a fierce defender of his Apache homeland, was born among the headwaters of the Gila. Before the nomadic Apache, the inhabitants of the cliffs built their homes in the tributary canyons of the Gila. 

Fragments of pottery, petroglyphs and pictographs tell the stories of ancient people who lived in the Gila Wilderness thousands of years ago. The ecology of the Gila, as well as the fish and widlife that it sustains, is now under threat from a proposed diversion project that would benefit only a handful of special interests, and Hispanic families throughout Southwest New Mexico would have to bear the financial burden by paying higher water utility bills and other tax offsets to pay for the project.

 
The Gila River is one of our nation’s last free-flowing rivers - a critical wildlife habitat home to native species that help define our New Mexican heritage. Local game populations, the threatened Gila trout, and over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, all rely on the Gila River for survival.

The Gila River is one of our nation’s last free-flowing rivers - a critical wildlife habitat home to native species that help define our New Mexican heritage. Local game populations, the threatened Gila trout, and over 300 species of birds, including the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, all rely on the Gila River for survival.

The diversion will damage the gila river

  • The state commission in charge of this project states that water will be taken only during high flows, but water can be drawn from the river to low flow levels, endangering native fish and other species.
  • The diversion will damage wildlife, limit recreation opportunities and forever change the Gila River.

 

The diversion is unnecessary

  • Local water plans show that with the use and conservation of groundwater, the Mimbres Basin Aquifer contains enough water to supply Silver City, Deming and other communities in the future. There is no need to drain the Gila River.

 

the diversion is unfeasible

  • The proposed diversion will be difficult to build, if not impossible, due to technical challenges that have not been solved.
  • The project will produce much less water than the water legally available due to highly variable flows and drought in the Gila. 
  • Evaporation could consume all the water, leaving little or nothing for human uses.

the project is incredibly expensive

  • Construction costs for the proposed diversion is now estimated at more than $850 million!
  • The federal government will not cover the total cost of the project, leaving a gap of $750 million for taxpayers.
  • Any water diverted from the Gila River will be much more expensive than other currently abundant water supplies.

 

 

We need your help! As a community, we must unite to stop the diversion Gila River before it is out of our control. Access and enjoyment of the Gila River is our right, and we should not let special interests drain our river. This water belongs to all of us, including the families whose ancestors and lived here hundreds of years ago. 

We invite Nuestra Tierra Conservation Project supporters to stay engaged and help save our Gila River by attending public meetings, signing our petition, and telling your friends and family.

“The land is sacred. These words are at the core of your being. The land is our mother, the rivers our blood. Take our land away and we die. That is, the Indian in us dies.” - Mary Brave Bird, Sicangu Lakota