On March 31, the US Supreme Court granted the federal government’s petition to intervene in a dispute between Texas and New Mexico over certain terms of the 1938 Rio Grande Compact (State of Texas v. State of New Mexico et al., Case number 22O141 ORG). As we reported here and here, Texas believes the Compact restricts New Mexico’s ability to withdraw and divert water in the region south of Elephant Butte on the Rio Grande River so that sufficient water will reach the New Mexico-Texas border 105 miles to the south, while New Mexico claims that the Compact only requires that it deliver water to Elephant Butte.
In December 2013, the US Solicitor General filed a brief as amicus curiae expressing the US government’s view that the Supreme Court should grant the State of Texas’s motion for leave of the Court to file a complaint against the States of New Mexico and Colorado for alleged violations of the Compact. On January 27, the Court agreed to allow Texas to file suit against New Mexico and Colorado seeking apportionment of the waters of the Rio Grande River. The Solicitor then filed a motion to intervene on February 27, which was granted. The deadline to file a motion to dismiss was extended to April 30, 2014.