The Arch Hurley Conservancy District has filed a protest with the Interstate Stream Commission against a request for the diversion of water in Colfax County by Turner Enterprises, Inc., a private company that oversees land holdings and other business interests owned by former media mogul Ted Turner.
The request is to change the diversion point in the Vermejo River Stream System, according to a copy of the request presented at Arch Hurley's meeting Tuesday.
Arch Hurley Manager Franklin McCasland said the diversion was being requested to bring the water to several lakes for habitat and recreational use.
Arch Hurley's protest states the proposal by Turner Enterprises, Inc. would impair water rights of its members and would be contrary to the water conservation or detrimental to public welfare.
Arch Hurley has been monitoring requests in the Canadian River watershed to protect the flow of water into Conchas Lake.
Conchas Lake is the source of water for the Tucumcari Irrigation Project.
Because of the drought, Arch Hurley has not been able to allocate much water to its members for several years. Although it is entitled to three feet of water from Conchas Lake, the most it has been able to allocate this decade is 18 inches in 2001, which was considered a banner year.
It has allocated no water this year.
The water level in Conchas Lake remains low, and the board agreed not to allocate any water at Tuesday’s meeting.
According to the TedTurner.com Web site, Turner Enterprises, Inc. (TEI), is a private company that manages the business interests, land holdings and investments of Ted Turner, including the oversight of two million acres in 12 states and in Argentina, and more than 50,000 bison head.
Arch Hurley also filed protests against requests to divert water by Vermejo Coal, LLC, which lists Turner, R.E., as the Georgia corporation's organizers, according to listings of corporations by the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission Web site.
The board also directed McCasland to pursue forming a group composed of irrigation projects north of Tucumcari which would submit protests as a group to the ISC.
There is a possible cost-savings in joining together and there is strength in numbers, McCasland said.