FARMINGTON — City Council will consider renewing a regional water sharing agreement at Tuesday morning's 9 a.m. work session.

The San Juan River Operations and Administration determines how water will be distributed among 10 local governments and organizations in the event of a water shortage.

"It's an emergency safeguard," said Public Works Director Jeff Smaka. "This is just the basic renewal of that four year agreement."

The agreement governs Navajo Dam operations and San Juan River administration from 2013-2016. It lists water diversion amounts for the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project, Hammond Irrigation Project, San Juan Generating Station, Four Corners Power Plant, BHP Navajo Coal Company and the city of Farmington.

The ten parties in the agreement are the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the city of Farmington, the Public Service Company of New Mexico, Arizona Public Service Company, BHP Navajo Coal Company, Hammond Conservancy District, Bloomfield Irrigation District, Farmers Mutual Ditch and Jewett Valley Ditch.

In the event of a water supply shortage on the San Juan River any time between 2013 and 2016, water use limitation measures will be put into place.

San Juan Generating Station and Four Corners Power Plant agreed to voluntarily reduce their water diversion rate by five percent, and the Navajo Nation agreed to limit the Navajo Indian Irrigation Project diversion.


The USGS gauge on the San Juan River at Shiprock is reporting below normal readings, and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln U.S. Drought Monitor is reporting severe drought conditions across San Juan County.

With climate scientists predicting little chance of drought relief this winter, city officials agree that the San Juan River Operations and Administration agreement is a key component in regional drought preparedness.

"It just makes a lot of sense," said Mayor Roberts. "It's good planning."