News Release Archive

Rio Grande Operating Agreement Draft EIS Available

Media Contact: Mary Carlson, 505-462-3576,
Rhea Graham, 505-462-3560,

For Release: March 18, 2016

Albuquerque, N.M. – The draft Environmental Impact Statement for the continued implementation of the 2008 Operating Agreement for the Rio Grande Project is available for review and comment.

The document was prepared to analyze the environmental effects of continuing to implement the Operating Agreement until 2050. The Operating Agreement fulfills obligations in the Bureau of Reclamation’s contracts with the Elephant Butte Irrigation District and El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1. The proposed action is also to implement long-term contracts for storage of San Juan-Chama Project water in Elephant Butte Reservoir, where Reclamation would execute a multiyear contract through 2050 to store 50,000 acre-feet per year.

The document is available at the Bureau of Reclamation website at

Copies of the document are also available for public review at the following locations:

• Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque Area Office, 555 Broadway NE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87102.

• Bureau of Reclamation, El Paso Field Division, 10737 Gateway West, Suite 350, El Paso, Texas, 79935.

• Natural Resources Library, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW, Main Interior Building, Washington, DC, 20240-0001.

• Elephant Butte Irrigation District, 530 South Melendres Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 88005.

• El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, 13247 Alameda Avenue, Clint, Texas, 79836.

• El Paso County Water Improvement District No. 1, Canutillo Office, 7254 La Junta Drive, Canutillo, Texas, 79835.

The Rio Grande Project extends from Elephant Butte in southern New Mexico down to west Texas. Its facilities include Elephant Butte and Caballo Dams and Reservoirs; Percha, Leasburg, Mesilla, American and International Diversion Dams; and canals and drains.

Reclamation and the U.S. Geological Survey developed a detailed hydrologic model to simulate operations under the alternatives under potential future hydrologic conditions, including climate change scenarios.

The Bureau of Reclamation will conduct two public hearings to gather comments on this draft environmental impact statement. The meetings are scheduled as follows:

First Public Meeting: Thursday, April 7, 2016, at 4:00 p.m. at Reclamation’s Albuquerque Area Office, 555 Broadway Ave. N.E., Suite 100, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Second Public Meeting: Tuesday, April 12, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. at the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, 530 South Melendres Street, Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The public is invited to provide oral or written testimony at the hearings. A court recorder will be available to take comments from the public before a hearing officer during this time. Written comments on the Draft EIS should be submitted on or before Monday, May 9, 2016.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.