By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
The Tucumcari Quay County Regional Water Authority is filing a protest against the Interstate Streams Commission’s application to appropriate control over the water in the Canadian River and tributary sources below Ute Lake Reservoir.
The application was not for an number of acre-feet of water rights, but the application seeks control of the water, not the water itself, said City Manager Jared Langenegger.
Langenegger said ISC has submitted the application for applying for control of the water to ensure its responsibility to provide water for the continued survival of the threatened Arkansas River shiner, which has a habitat south of the reservoir on the Canadian River.
Nearly all of the remaining Arkansas River shiners can be found in the Canadian River in Oklahoma, western Texas and eastern New Mexico.
Schools of shiners often gather on the lee side (protective side sheltered from wind) of sandbars and ridges of sand in the river channel. They spawn after heavy summer rains and their eggs drift with the water current and develop as they are carried downstream.
The appropriation of control of the water may affect how landowners use the water for livestock and other purposes, said County Manager Richard Primrose.
Primrose said the main concern is if the ISC has control of the water, then it has authority to tell landowners with livestock watering tanks, retention dams and related items that they have to release the water if there is not enough water in the level.
Langenegger said this would set a precedent in the state for this type of action if the ISC gained control of the water.
Primrose said Luna County has also filed a petition against the ISC application. He said Quay County commissioners believe the their protest would affect all landowners with property adjacent to the Canadian River, as well as the tributaries – including Revuelto Creek — that feed into the Canadian River.