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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1999




University of New Mexico School of Law




Looking back at the drought of 1996 and at the efforts to protect endangered species in the midst of the drought, the most glaring fact remains that the water managers and users of the Rio Grande were in crisis management. In fact, despite some efforts, if the drought had manifested with equal or greater intensity in 1997, we would have remained in crisis management. Hence, as we move forward and examine lessons learned, the most vital premise we must return to is the imperative for balance as we undertake the precarious task of allocating water to protect endangered species, serve traditional uses, and provide for an ever increasing urban populace. This balance must be struck amidst the growing conflict between urban and agricultural water users and water use by the plants and wildlife of the natural environment. This is a conflict not just between users and uses but also between values. The danger in seeking this elusive balance, a danger exacerbated by crisis management, is to swing too far in one direction. We must be wary of this tendency.

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