Augustin Plains Ranch Water Rights Application

LOCATION:  Catron County near Datil, NM
CLIENTS/PARTNERS:  Gila Conservation Coalition, three homeowner/landowner associations, and over 100 landowners and ranchers
OPPOSING PARTIES: Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC
STATUS: Ongoing
ATTORNEYS: Maslyn Locke


Since 2008, Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC has been pursuing the most highly contested water grab in New Mexico history. It wants more than 17 billion gallons of publicly owned water and has never said what it will do with it, except sell it to someone, somewhere, for something. We persuaded the State Engineer to deny the application in 2012, and then persuaded a state District Court judge to rule against the Ranch’s appeal. On August 1, 2018, the State Engineer denied the most recent application as speculative. If we do not stop this privatization scheme once and for all, the precedent it would set could dry up rural communities throughout New Mexico.

Latest News:

07/25/2019 – The 7th State Judicial District Court granted our Motion for Summary Judgment in Augustin Plains Ranch’s appeal of the August 2018 denial of its application by the State Engineer. Catron County had also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which the judge also granted. Motions from the Ranch and the State Engineer were not considered once our Motion was granted. Judge Reynolds’ ruling was based on his finding that he had already decided the issues presented by this Augustin Plains Ranch application when he denied the application filed by the Ranch in 2007 and 2008. Read our press release.
08/01/2018 – The State Engineer denied as speculative the permit application filed by Augustin Plains Ranch. The Ranch has 30 days to file an appeal. Read our press release.
9/12/2016 – NMELC files motion in 7th Judicial District Court to reopen the case.
8/15/2016 – Augustin Plains Ranch announced that the Ranch’s amended application to obtain the rights to 54,000 acre-feet of water is under consideration by the Office of the State Engineer.
08/12/2015 – NMELC files Response in Opposition to Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s Motion to Dismiss and Remand to State Engineer.
12/23/2014 – Augustin Plains Ranch files third application.
11/25/2014 – State Engineer rejects Augustin Plains Ranch’s second application and gave the Ranch thirty days to file a corrected application.
10/29/2014 – NM Supreme Court denies petition.
09/22/2014 – NMELC files Petition for Writ for clients asking the NM Supreme Court to order the State Engineer to dismiss a massive speculative water appropriation application from Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC.
08/19/2014 – Court of Appeals dismisses Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s appeal “in light of the fact that Appellant has filed a new application that replaces and supercedes the prior application, the present appeal is moot.”
08/01/2014 – Brief Demonstrating that Appeal is Not Moot filed in the Court of Appeals
01/22/2013 – Augustin Plains Ranch, LLC files Notice of Appeal
01/03/2013 – Order from the 7th Judicial District Court that dismisses the Ranch’s appeal. The Ranch now has 30 days to file another appeal in the Court of Appeals.
11/14/2012 – Memorandum opinion on motion for summary judgement upholding the State Engineer’s order denying application.
09/12/2012 – NMELC files reply in support of upholding the State Engineer’s order.
07/26/2012 – NMELC files memorandum in support of upholding the State Engineer’s order denying application and dismissing this appeal.
04/09/2012 – Augustin Plains Ranch LLC files appeal
03/30/2012 – New Mexico State Engineer denies Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s water rights application.
12/05/2011 – Hearing scheduled for February 7th, 2012 in Socorro.
05/13/2011 – NMELC files Protestants’ Reply to Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s Responses regarding Motion to Dismiss.
04/29/2011 – NMELC files Response in Opposition to Augustin Plains Ranch’s Motion for Stay.
02/11/2011 – NMELC files Motion to Dismiss application.
11/09/2010 – Hearing Officer requested a brief to be filed on February 11th. Oral arguments will be heard on May 20th.
10/18/2010 – There will be a scheduling meeting on November 9th in Socorro, NM. The meeting is meant to finalize calendaring of the hearing with the State Engineer.
06/01/2010 – Those protesting the application by Augustin Plains Ranch LLC have until June 28th to pay a $25 fee to the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer to be involved in the matter.

Case Files:

08/01/2018 – State Engineer denial of permit
09/12/2016 – Motion to reopen the case
08/12/2015 – Response in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss and Remand
09/22/2014 – Petition for Writ
08/19/2014 – Court of Appeals’ order dismissing Ranch Appeal
08/01/2014 – Brief on Mootness
01/03/2013 – Order Affirming State Engineer’s Denial of Augustin Plains Ranch’s application
11/14/2012 – Augustin Plains District Court Opinion
09/12/2012 – Reply in Support of Protestants Motion
07/26/2012 – Memorandum in Support of Protestants’ Motion
03/30/2012 – State Engineer Application Denial Order
05/13/2011 – Protestants’ Reply to Augustin Plains Ranch LLC’s Responses Regarding Motion to Dismiss
04/29/2011 – Response in Opposition to Augustin Plains Ranch’s Motion for Stay
02/11/2011 – Filed Motion to Dismiss