Wednesday, April 24, 2013


 Here's a letter I wrote this afternoon to the
Magdalena Mountain Mail, that will come
 out in the April 27 edition (Saturday).
Yesterday I came home for lunch and found a New Mexico
 State Police Officer parked at my house. After we introduced
ourselves, he proceeded to read me my Miranda Rights and
told me I was the subject of a "criminal investigation" for
 alleged "violent threats" against the people involved in the
 Water Grab on the San Augustin Plains.  
After a lot of questions and answers, he went on his way, 
but asked me to have "hard copy" of some of my blog posts,
and whatever else I thought relevant to the investigation, ready
 when he came by this morning. So, I gathered everything up,
 and am ready....and waiting....and waiting.
Car 54, where are you?
It's now 1:20 and I'm curious about what this all means.
  Dropped - no evidence? Further investigation proceeding?
  From what he told me, the "complaint" of threats must have
come from The Waite Company, the Albuquerque PR outift
(shill) for the foreign investors. I have never threatened anyone
 in this mess. I have talked about the potential of violence here,
but I have never encouraged it, or said that I would personally
 perpetrate violence in the matter. To discuss what COULD BE
 an unfortunate outcome to the situation
 is simply looking at the realities.
I gave him as personal references Marshal Larry
Cearley of Magdalena, and George Vanwinkle, Chief of Police
in Socorro. I could have added on a former FBI agent to the
 list, a man I work with on occasion, but figured
that would be overdoing things.
Intimidation is not to be unexpected in
 something like this. The Project Director for the LLC,
Michel  Jichlinski, is a piece of work.
  Read about how millions of your  tax-dollars were stolen
 when he ran the Louis Berger Group,  a federal contractor
 working in Afghanistan and worldwide. They got hit with the
 largest fine ever for a war-time contractor - 69.3 million,
 for cooking the books and other shenanigans.
  The Modena Family Group, the Italians and their
 "investors" involved in the scheme, are a bunch of shadowy
 corporate characters - no financial statements, no tax returns,
no background data, no nada. It's all on the blog. These people
 are NOT the kind of folks you want to do business with,
 especially in the matter of WATER.
So, I still wait for the officer, and think about
 The Waite Company, and Jichlinski, and the LLC,
 and what evil lurks in the hearts of men.
If you're with the "good guys" on this deal, don't worry.
  Don't be intimidated. I'm not. I've got Duffy and Ziggy,
 my "guard" dogs, neither of them too intimidating,
 but noisy - like me. And I'm going to keep on making noise,
 come hell or high water.
Matt Middleton
The suspect waits for the State Police, with hard-copies,
and audio recorder (record everything!).
Well, it's late Thursday and my friend Officer
Jaime Dominguez has yet to return.
This may all be a "wash" as they say - and
nothing further will come of it.  Time will tell. 
The problem may have come about because of
people's ignorance of what words in the English language
actually mean.  An article published in the Rio Rancho
Observer about the issue last week had some statements
 in it attributed to me, including this:
“The very idea of foreign ownership of water is a really, really
 bad idea,” Middleton said.
He also questioned if it’s fair that growth be allowed to the
 detriment of rural communities.
Plus, Middleton expects violence if the project were allowed.
“Water’s too precious to allow someone to do this when it all
 comes down to, really, is money,” Middleton said.
 “It’s unethical.”
Read the entire article here:

To say that something is "expected" is not the same
thing as saying you condone it, or would participate.
But, we need to be fair here - remember,
  the public relations firm, The Waite Company, is a
public relations firm.  A lot of PR people twist the meaning
of words regularly, and openly fudge on the truth,

to where the actual meaning of almost any word or
 statement is suspect or simply unknown.
The English words "VALUE" and "STAKEHOLDERS"
are examples of what I'm talking about.
 PR firms aren't generally known for excellence in
 English language usage, but rather how you "shape"
 a message, or "spin" it, as they say. 
 How well you lie can make you rich in this biz.
Their forte is falsification and misrepresentation,
the sordid details of "packaging" people and companies,
or hideous, greedy, ill-designed schemes like this one -
in this "smoke and mirrors" world that we now live in.  
Someone may have been so stupid here that they panicked and
called someone to get the "heat" on me, without realizing
that their fears were foolish, unnecessary, and ignorant.

Maybe Jichlinski's English isn't too hot, and he misread
what I said, and told the Waite outfit to jump on it -
call the DA's office and get something going.
Maybe, maybe not.  Maybe it wasn't stupidity at all,

but just plain harassment and/or intimidation.
  It doesn't matter.  Political connections were probably
what got the State Police to my house.  So be it.
I wonder what else is up their sleeve....
PR "flacks," as they are called,  aren't noted for
 being very bright, or even very interesting,

but very clever, sly, scheming.
  Like a fox.
You'll have to excuse me now,
 I think I hear a commotion out back in the henhouse.
I should add that the timing was near-perfect  -
 the day before, the decision was made to have a special
"Prayer for a Peaceful Resolution"
 as part of the June program being planned. 
 An inter-faith
 will take place June 15, 2 pm, at the
 Chapel of the Living Waters
 at Montosa Campground - 13.5
miles west of Magdalena - (there will be signs).
We'll have more info about what's being planned, and
who all is participating, within a couple of weeks.
It should be a very interesting afternoon, with
"Prayers, Songs, and Ceremonies" from a number of faiths.
But a "Prayer for a Peaceful Resolution" is a MUST-HAVE
for an event here during these times, these circumstances.
Below is the chapel itself - a dream of B.W. Cox,
who is graciously allowing us to hold our services at this
 little church in the pines, just above the San Augustin Plains,
 and so perfectly named.
Well, of course we'd say that.
Here's a mini-poster in standard 8.5 x 11 inch jpeg format you can print, or Facebook, or whatever.... Thanks!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


The Rio Grande and the aquifer lying beneath the
San Augustin Plains are connected.  There's more about
that further below, but first we'd like to start with
some history.
The Mission de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
 in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico,
 (above - the little mission on the left)
and the settlers who clustered around it,
comprised the first European settlement on the river,
and in the region, founded in 1659.
 It was then known as
"Paso del Norte" - Pass of the North,
and early on became a trading center
and economic hub of the region.
Oh, and the subject of songs too.
The Rio Grande in North American History
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History (1954)
by Paul Horgan
"In its length of nearly two thousand miles and its
 cultural evidence encompassing ten centuries and more,
 the Great River remains the unifying vein of history not only
 of the life adjacent to its banks, but also of the greater
Southwest.  There, if often far afield, the political, social,
 and geographical significance of the river can be traced
through the times of five sovereignties - those of the Indian,
Spain, Mexico, Texas, and the United States.
In manners of living, a long, slow sequence unfolded for
 the early river peoples.  Prehistoric intuitions among them
 gradually gave way to knacks and simple ingenuities -
primitive technologies to do with water, fire, agriculture,
 shelter, travel, weaponry.  For centuries all these were
 developed without that sense of shock that accelerated rates of
 discovery produce.  But with the waves of activity and means
of control of the natural world that rose with the industrial
 revolution and the migratory imperatives of the nineteenth
 century, man's impact on the environment brought swift and
 radical change within a single human lifetime."
"Into the Rio Grande country, ranging through the area
of what became three immense modern states and touching
the great length of the river's immediate course, came
railroads, electricity, exploitation of mineral resources,
colonization, urbanization at key points, and - not to be
undervalued - the popular discovery of the natural aesthetic
of generally benign climate over a landscape of most
desirable beauty."
"In modern days, therefore, population not only changed in
 character, it grew in a few generations to a size that threatened
to create a dangerous imbalance between what was available
to sustain life and what was demanded by headlong social
increase.  The problem was not exclusive to the Southwest,
it plagued the nation and, indeed, with Latin America included,
it invaded the hemisphere.
But it was in the Southwest that technological change
became most rapidly visible.  The desert country, having
sustained sufficiently the modest requirements of the Indians,
the Spaniard, and the Mexican, now had to meet the
 environmental levies of the United States genius for industry.
Added to these were a foreshortened vision of the good life,
which the American citizen and his suppliers made commonly
necessary without much common foresight for the future
effects of the technological society on such matters as pollution
of air, earth, and water, and - most significant for the
Southwest - dangerous depletion of the very sources
of water itself."
"The Rio Grande, long an adequate though never a
voluminous river except in flood tide, has been attended
in modern times by concerned management in its government
conservancy districts; but in many places the river has become
only a trickle, and in others entirely dry, to be replenished
only by flood from otherwise dry or meager local tributaries
and by diminishing groundwater, this always in the face of
increasing needs of its resources in both the United States
and Mexico."

Drought Fuels Water War Between
Texas and New Mexico

by Sandra Postel - Jaunuary 18, 2013

As climate change alters rainfall patterns and river flows, tensions are bound to rise between states and countries that share rivers that cross their borders.
In the Rio Grande Basin of the American Southwest, that future inevitability has arrived.
Last week Texas, suffering through a devastating drought, filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that New Mexico is failing to live up to its water delivery commitments under the 1938 Rio Grande Compact.
The Rio Grande rises in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado and flows 1,900 miles before entering the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas charges that New Mexico’s pumping of groundwater in the region below Elephant Butte Dam to the New Mexico-Texas border is reducing Rio Grande flows into Texas, thereby depriving the state’s farms and cities of water they are legally entitled to under the Compact.
Texas v. New Mexico is likely to be but one of a string of disputes that erupt as drought causes water supplies to dwindle and water-sharing pacts devised in wetter and less-populated times can no longer hold the peace.
Texas doesn’t specify how much water it believes New Mexico is illegally withholding, but indicates it is sufficient to irrigate thousands of acres of farmland. The city of El Paso also relies on Rio Grande water for half of its supply.
New Mexico officials have consistently maintained that the state is sending to Texas all the Rio Grande water to which it is legally entitled. The state attorney general said in a recent statement that Texas is “trying to rustle New Mexico’s water and using a lawsuit to extort an agreement that would only benefit Texas while destroying water resources for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans.”
Fighting words, to be sure.
If the Supreme Court justices decide to take up the case, they would do well to first sign up for hydrology 101.
One of the great water myths is that rivers and underground aquifers are separate and distinct sources of water. In reality, rivers and groundwater are often intimately connected.
Groundwater provides the “base” flow that keeps many rivers running during dry times. For their part, rivers and irrigation canals leak water into the subsurface, recharging the aquifers below.
In dry years, when surface supplies run low, farmers often turn to underground water to replace or supplement their irrigation supply. That’s what New Mexico farmers downstream of Elephant Butte have done during years of drought and low river flows.
In the Mesilla Basin, for example, groundwater is the primary source of irrigation water for about 5,000 acres, but is a supplemental source of supply for more than 70,000 acres. So in dry times, groundwater withdrawals ratchet up.
According to an article on the impacts of groundwater pumping in the Rio Grande Basin published in this month’s Ecosphere, a journal of the Ecological Society of America, during the 2004 drought, when federal officials curtailed releases from Elephant Butte Dam, pumping from the Messila Aquifer rose to twice the long-term average.
The drought of recent years has elicited a similar response from farmers, and groundwater pumping in the Rio Grande Valley has increased markedly. But how much this pumping has affected flows into Texas is in question.
The current bi-state conflict began in 2007 when Texas farmers complained that New Mexico was extracting too much groundwater. To avoid an escalating legal fight, the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Elephant Butte, worked out an agreement with two irrigation districts in Texas and New Mexico to give Texas more river water to make up for New Mexico’s groundwater use. 
That agreement didn’t sit well with New Mexico officials, however, and three years later the state filed suit against the Bureau, charging that the deal gave away too much of New Mexico’s Rio Grande allotment to Texas and would cause $183 million in damages to the state’s agricultural economy.
Texas shot back with the lawsuit filed last week.
Meanwhile, the drought persists. Elephant Butte is at 8 percent of its storage capacity, the same as when I visited the reservoir last August.
While the legal case may drag on for years, it is a wake-up call for all states and nations that share transboundary waters to proactively add resilience to their treaties and institutions before crises hit, and even more importantly, to develop workable governing structures over water where they are lacking.
It is also a lesson to invest now in water efficiency improvements so as to reduce pressures on both rivers and aquifers.
Because while the Supreme Court may ultimately decide this Texas-sized water dispute, even the highest court in the land can’t dictate Mother Nature to deliver more water.
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project and Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society. She is the author of several acclaimed books, including the award-winning Last Oasis, a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment, and one of the “Scientific American 50.”
Below is a "Comment" to the article from
Dr. William Turner of Albuquerque,
a water broker.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
January 21

 Some New Mexico State Engineers have had a screw Texas point of view which is now coming home to roost. For example, in 1972, Charles Crowder, a land developer and visionary, acquired 22,000 acres of land in the area of Santa Theresa. It was his long term vision to build a major metropolitan community and he needed water. So, Mr. Crowder had a meeting with long time State Engineer Steve Reynolds. Mr. Crowder asked Mr. Reynolds if he needed to file applications with the State Engineer Office for the 36 water wells
 he planned.
  Reynolds replied:  “Hell no Charley.
  Drill all the wells you want. 
  We want to get that water before it gets to Texas.” 
His mismanagement of the Pecos River resulted in the failure
 of New Mexico to deliver water to Texas on the Pecos River. 
The Supreme Court required New Mexico to bring their
deliveries into accord with the Pecos River Compact.
 His mismanagement cost New New Mexico taxpayers more 
than $100 million to retire private water rights
 to satisfy the judgement.


The YouTube piece below is basically a music video
of birds in the Middle Rio Grande Valley set to the music of
Composer/Performer Paul Schwartz.
The following is from a Middle Rio Grande Conservancy
District office report concerning the testimony of hydrologist
Dr. Frank Titus, after he testified before them as an
expert witness, in January of 2008.  The full report is
available on the San Augustin Water Coalition website.
It should be noted that since 2008 the LLC has modified
and enlarged on the original plan that was publicized -
which had the water being piped to Socorro and then put in
the Rio Grande at that point.  Now they talk about piping it to
Rio Rancho, or perhaps even Santa Fe.  This is also before
their new "idea" that they can catch enough rain to
recharge the aquifer - a ludicrous proposal, at best.
Bruce Frederick, the New Mexico Environmental Law Center
attorney that represents many, many parties objecting
 to the Water Grab, has done the math on that one.
It should be noted that this gentleman isn't just a lawyer,
he also has a Masters Degree in Groundwater Hydrology
 from New Mexico Tech.
Here's what he told the Rio Rancho Observer:
“I think it’s an absurd notion on the face of it,” said New Mexico
 Environmental Law Center attorney Bruce Frederick of the
 proposal of pumping 54,000 acre-feet a year and replacing it
 with rain water.
Frederick has opposed the company’s attempt
 to get a pumping permit.
To meet the company’s goal, he said each acre
 in the proposed project area would have to produce
12 acre-feet, or 3.9 million gallons, of water each year."

.Well, unless the same kind of storms that came at Noah's time
are in the forecast, 144 inches of rain per year is
simply NOT in the cards.  Are these people really, really
that stupid - or do they take us all for fools?  Or both?
Anyhow, here's the report about Dr. Titus's testimony.
 Dr. Titus said that this proposal to bring 54,000 acre ft. of water per year out of the San Augustin Basin over to the Rio Grande, in his book, is imaginative and if it goes that way that it will be very profitable for somebody. But it will also screw a bunch of people. By his calculations, the 37 proposed wells to provide the water are laid out in an array covering about 14 sections in the vicinity of Datil and running from just south of US Hwy 60 north for about 6-7 miles. If these wells produce 54,000 ac-ft of water per year, and if they create a cone of depression that is twice the area of the footprint of the wells, they will create draw down of 30 feet a year and that is if they have the capacity to produce that much water at all. The proposition that 37 wells can provide that much water assumes that the wells in an aquifer that is as prolific as the aquifer in the vicinity of Albuquerque and this is a unique, marvelous aquifer. The proposition that 37 wells can be drilled in the northeastern part of the San Augustin Plains and produce 2,000-3,000 gallons per minutes is at least highly questionable. At 30 feet of draw down per year they could not produce for very long. The wells are in a highly prolific part of the aquifer, but in order to produce for many decades at that rate they would have to cover the whole basin with wells and have dramatic draw downs over the basin and most of the rest of the basin does not have the permeability
 that that particular part does.

If the State Engineer approve such a proposal, the most distressing part is that which is the good aquifer end of the San Augustin Plains it probably also discharges a significant amount of water down Alamosa Creek and ultimately through the box that is about 15 miles down stream and over to the west side of Elephant Butte Reservoir. There is no quantitative data to know how much water is involved coming down the pathway. A proposal to bring 54,000 ac-ft per year and put it in the river in the Socorro vicinity and thereby balance an equal amount of pumping out of the Albuquerque/Rio Rancho area does several things. First of all it would measurably reduce the flow of the Rio Grande surface water system including through the District’s distribution system. Markedly reduce the flow between Albuquerque and the point at which water is put into the Rio Grande Valley in the Socorro area - that is an 80 mile stretch. There is an inevitable reduction in wet water flow. There is the issue of the contribution from Monticello Creek, Alamosa Creek coming out of the San Augustin Basin to the west side of Elephant Butte Reservoir. Assuming that the addition at Socorro matches the withdrawal at Albuquerque at least there would be a balance in that reach. But when you go on down stream, it is inevitable that if you take water our of the San Augustin Basin and you pipe it to Socorro, then you cut off the flow down Alamosa Creek and Monticello Creek into Elephant Butte. Ultimately, even though it may take decades to happen, the total flow of the Rio Grande will be reduced by the amount of water that is taken out of the San Augustin Basin.

Then there is the problem of the closed basin character of the San Augustin Basin and it’s an issue of how long it is able to continue to contribute that water to the Socorro reach assuming a pipeline is built and water is piped. Over a period of decades the water table will be drawn down so much in the San Augustin region that it will no longer supply fresh water. Once all of the easily available water out of the San Augustin Basin is exploited and no longer able to contribute water to the Rio Grande, then there is no replacement water coming in. If this is approved, we will have created an additional cone of depression and removed water from the Albuquerque area which cannot be replaced now and there will be no more water coming into the Socorro area because the San Augustin region will be exhausted and we will cut off the source of water going down to recharge the system at Elephant Butte. By short sighted approval of such a proposition, we will be put in a position where there is simply no way to balance the amount of water that has been taken out and we will come up seriously short. Of course, it will not be within the tenure of this State Engineer or several others, but the State of New Mexico is going to be around for a long time as well as the MRGCD.  Dr. Titus said that in his personal opinion that for the District to participate in any way in this kind of a thing - it’s basically a

 money making scam by someone that
 owns a ranch over there.

"A river seems a magic thing.
A magic, moving, living part
of the very earth itself."
Laura Gilpin

."The Rio Grande Yields Its Surplus To The Sea"
Laura Gilpin