April 11, 2024

By Jessica Carranza

El Defensor Chieftain

RESERVE – Judge Roscoe Woods of the Seventh Judicial District Court, granted the State Engineer’s motion for summary judgement thereby upholding the State Engineer’s denial of Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s application to pump 54,000-acre feet of water a year from the San Agustin Plains basin at the Catron County Court house on April 5.

“For this application to go through as it is, in my opinion … sets a bad precedent,” Woods said, during his ruling in a courtroom with standing room only. “I think the whole point of the appropriation doctrine is that we put the water to beneficial use.”

More than 100 people were present at the hearing in protest, spilling out into the hallway as lawyers shared their arguments for almost five hours. …