NMAW undermined joint group

By Clint Harden: State senator

Clovis’ water supply is not in danger of running dry next month or even next year.

Telling the truth, the whole truth, is a fundamental principle of how we conduct ourselves, whether in our personal lives or our businesses. It’s what allows us to look at ourselves in the mirror, to look at our friends and neighbors straight away and to sleep well at night.

The results are never good when that principle is violated.

We’re all witness to that right now as we watch months of productive work by the Clovis Water Users Working Group evaporate in light of New Mexico American Water’s decision to seek an emergency order from the state to double pump its wells.

What’s most appalling about this whole episode is not that NMAW sought and received the emergency order, but how it went about getting it.

NMAW formed and funded the Clovis Water Users Working Group to help forge an agreement on how best to solve the area’s long-term water issues.

The emphasis is on “long-term” and that’s admirable because, as a society, the more we can solve problems by working together, by talking until we find solutions that are agreeable to most of us, the better off we’ll all be.

What is far less admirable is that NMAW participated in that consensus-building process at the same time it was using unfounded scare tactics to win an emergency order, good for a year, to exceed its water rights and neuter the working group’s purpose.

No wonder members of the working group are resigning en masse, effectively disbanding the group.

It is bad enough that neighboring water rights will be impaired by this action, but it’s even worse that NMAW is trying — so far, unsuccessfully — to pit Clovis residents against their agricultural neighbors by falsely claiming that the city’s drinking water will run dry within weeks. And NMAW sought the emergency order without ever telling the very people it claimed it was working with that it was doing so.

You have to ask yourself, as I have, why wouldn’t NMAW tell all of us, especially the working group, about the allegedly dire situation facing Clovis residents and NMAW’s proposed solution to exceed its water rights? The answer seems pretty clear. NMAW simply didn’t want to have to prove its doomsday claims and defend against credible arguments that neighboring water rights can’t help but be impaired by the company’s proposed excessive pumping.

New Mexico American Water found out what every child who has ever fibbed learned: the truth will always come out, and it’s better to be truthful from the beginning.