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Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado Announce Agreement After Years of Dispute Over the Lower Rio Grande River

Attorney General Paxton has announced a historic agreement with the states of New Mexico and Colorado that, if accepted by a Special Master and approved by the United States Supreme Court, would guarantee that the resources of the Lower Rio Grande River are justly distributed among the states.

Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico entered into the Rio Grande Compact in 1938 to equitably apportion the waters of the Rio Grande among the three states. The proposed agreement announced this week would resolve any disputes the states have about their obligations under the Compact.

The dispute, which focuses on a stretch of the Rio Grande between Elephant Butte Dam and Hudspeth County, Texas, was submitted to the United States Supreme Court when Texas filed a lawsuit in 2013 to ensure that New Mexico water users stopped unfairly syphoning water from the river before it reaches Texas.

The federal government has announced its objection to the settlement that Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado just struck. These states are currently in the process of requesting that the Special Master and ultimately the United States Supreme Court approve the settlement over the objection of the federal government.

“I’ve continued to fight to ensure our state has the legal access to the Rio Grande River that we’re owed, and that we can responsibly use the river’s resources to limit the damage of droughts and help Texas farmers,” said Attorney General Paxton. “This agreement helps protect the resources of all the states involved, and I encourage the federal government to reconsider its objection to this important agreement.”

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