AG’s Office Announces Successful Judicial Order In Long-Running Dispute Over Rio Grande River Waters


New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas has announced that the Court has agreed to put off the trial in the long-running dispute between Texas, New Mexico and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation over the waters of the Rio Grande River.  The delay is due to the parties having agreed to continue negotiating a settlement agreement that could finally resolve the case, and could save taxpayers potentially millions of dollars in litigation fees and costs.

“We assembled the best legal and scientific team in the nation to disprove that our farmers and our communities owed billions in damages to Texas, and we are now on the cusp of an exciting historic settlement agreement that will protect New Mexico water for generations to come,” said Attorney General Balderas.

The lawsuit, filed by Texas in 2013, concerns how the waters of the Rio Grande below Elephant Butte Reservoir are shared by Texas and New Mexico, and in 2015 State legislators feared that taxpayers would get stuck owing an estimated $2 billion in damages. The parties completed the first phase of trial in the fall of 2021, and since then have been engaged in intensive settlement discussions.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s appointed Special Master continued the trial date, originally set for October 3, 2022, so the parties may have the time necessary to complete settlement discussions. The Special Master is requiring the parties to attend a status conference on July 26, 2022 to provide an update on the progress of settlement discussions and to discuss a new trial date if necessary.  If the parties are able to reach an agreement, it would have to be approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.