Economic Impact of Alternative Resolutions of New Mexico Pueblo Indian Water Rights (Volume III)
Volume III – Economic Impacts of Alternative Resolutions
This Volume discusses the specific economic consequences of different legal outcomes of Pueblo Indian water rights in the Upper Rio Grande basin. These impacts, although expressed in different economic forms according to the scenario modeled, describe the social opportunities precluded by specific alternative quantifications of Pueblo Indian water rights. The specific impacts are described using solutions of an input/output linear programming model of five regions in New Mexico, with each region consisting of 24 economic sectors. The model is specified for three regions in the Upper Rio Grande basin (i.e., above Elephant Butte Reservoir), with constraint on the model solution provided by available water resources.
The analysis projects economic growth and other changes affecting the region to the year 2000, with the model originally calibrated to reflect observed economic conditions in 1975. Naturally available water supplies in the Upper Rio Grande are augmented in the 2000 projection by the San Juan-Chama transmountain diversion. The baseline solution (before change in Pueblo Indian water rights over 1975 levels) describes output in the sectors of each Upper Basin region and concludes that no absolute water scarcity condition will exist in the Upper Rio Grande Region which would constrain this economic development projection. Alternative scenarios from these baseline conditions asociated with increased Pueblo Indian agriculture generally describe increases in output and water scarcity. An alternative scenario, describing the leasing of water by the Pueblo Indians, shows specific economic impacts which are dependent on the lease price charged. In general, the model describes changes in the geographic distribution and use of available water resources in the Upper Rio Grande basin. On the whole, the economic impacts associated with the specific quantifications of Pueblo Indian water rights appear at worst neutral, with the potential for positive net economic benefits in the Upper Basin associated with specific resolution scenarios. These economic impacts are described as changes in output and water utilization by Upper Basin society (both Indian and non-Indian), but are unable to assess the cultural impacts associated with the specific Pueblo Indian water right scenario modeled.
Keywords: Economic impact, pueblo Indian water rights, upper rio grande basin, linear programming model