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UNM and New Mexico Water News


Collaboration, not conflict, on the Colorado River

A newly signed agreement between the United States and Mexico over Colorado River management illustrates how collaboration in water management can overcome conflict between nations, WRP Director John Fleck writes at Island Press.

U.S. and Mexico sign historic Colorado River agreement

Water Resources Program Director John Fleck talks with Colorado Public Radio about the historic deal signed last week in Santa Fe between the United States and Mexico over the Colorado River.

Does a river have rights?

University of New Mexico law professor Reed Benson weighs in on the question of whether a river - in this case the Colorado - could be treated under the law as having rights and personhood. Benson, a leading scholar in U.S. water law, concludes that it's a long shot, but an interesting question:

This new lawsuit, I suppose, seeks to be the armor-piercing round that helps give the Colorado River new life.  Courts in other nations have begun to recognize legal rights of rivers, and the day may come when U.S. law begins to accept that idea.  For now, no one should expect a federal judge to declare that any river, least of all the Colorado, has legal rights of its own.  But we know the law is sometimes slow to recognize rights of the less powerful; for example, women got the right to vote less than a century ago.  So while the law does not recognize a river’s right to exist today, ask yourself:  should it?

Benson was also quoted in a New York Times piece on the subject.


Dec. 8, 2017, Albuquerque

UNM's Land Arts of the American West program's fall exhibition opening reception, 5 - 8 p.m., John Sommer Gallery, UNM Art Building. Exhibit runs 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Dec. 4 - 14.

Dec. 13-14, 2017, Albuquerque

New Mexico First Town Hall on the 2018 New Mexico State Water Plan.

Jan. 11, 2018, Albuquerque

The New Mexico Water Dialogue's annual conference this year takes up a discussion of "Balancing our water needs: adjudication and alternatives." 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, 24012 12th St. NW, Albuquerque.