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TEXAS V. NEW MEXICO, 482 U. S. 124 (1987)

U.S. Supreme Court

Texas v. New Mexico, 482 U.S. 124 (1987)

Texas v. New Mexico

No. 65, Orig.

Argued April 29, 1987

Decided June 8, 1987

482 U.S. 124


The 1949 Pecos River Compact between New Mexico and Texas divides the water of the Pecos River between the States, but, because of the river's irregular flow, does not specify a particular amount of water to be delivered by New Mexico to Texas each year. Instead, Article III(a) of the Compact provides that

"New Mexico shall not deplete by man's activities the flow of the Pecos River at the New Mexico-Texas state line below an amount which will give to Texas a quantity of water equivalent to that available to Texas under the 1947 condition."

In 1974, Texas filed this original action to resolve a dispute between the States with respect to the "1947 condition" and other matters. A Special Master was appointed, and this Court previously adopted his report specifying the methodology to be used in calculating Texas' entitlement to water. The case is now before the Court on both parties' exceptions to the Master's recent report calculating the acre-feet shortfall of water that should have been delivered to Texas for the years 1950-1983, and recommending that, in addition to performing its ongoing obligation under the Compact, New Mexico be ordered to make up the accumulated shortfall by delivering a specified amount of water each year for 10 years, with a penalty in kind, i.e., "water interest," for any bad-faith failure to deliver the additional amounts.


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