September 22, 2016--Animas River water fight headed to trial (Santa Fe New Mexican)

A yearslong dispute over water rights on the Animas River will finally go to trial in state District Court following a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling Thursday that the state engineer has full authority to regulate how water on the river is managed and diverted. The state engineer filed a complaint in District Court in 2013 against the Diamond K Bar Ranch in San Juan County, accusing the ranch’s trustees of illegally irrigating more than 360 acres with Animas River water. The state alleged the ranch was using more water, across more acreage, than its water use permit allowed. Raymond Kysar Jr. and his wife, Patsy Sue Kysar, sought to dismiss the claims, saying the state didn’t have the authority to regulate the water because it was drawn from a community irrigation ditch built in the 1880s, predating a 1978 state law that governs New Mexico’s water supplies and irrigation. They also argued that the state was infringing on Colorado’s water rights. The ranch sits just a mile and a half from the Colorado-New Mexico border, and the water it uses is first diverted from the Animas River in Colorado through the Ralston Ditch. To view the full article visit the Santa Fe New Mexican.