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U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in Rio Grande management case

The Supreme Court could release its opinion as soon as June.
rio grande
Posted at 10:04 PM, Mar 21, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-22 23:07:04-04

DENVER — The U.S. Supreme Court is one step closer to making a decision that could impact the way the Rio Grande River is managed.

Justices heard oral arguments Wednesday related to an agreement between New Mexico and Texas about how the states would apportion the water. SCOTUS will decide whether the federal government should be able to intervene — and possibly alter — that agreement.

While the case doesn't have a direct impact, Gage Zobell, a water law expert and partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, said the outcome could have a long-term impact on the state of Colorado.

"Colorado is in two major river basins, Rio Grande, and the Colorado River Basin, where we're going to be having potential ongoing litigation as we move forward and drought conditions," said Zobell.

Zobell suggests that increased government interference in state agreements on the use of water sources could complicate future agreements for Colorado.

"The last thing that we want is for the United States government to be granted the status of an intervener because if we do that in the Rio Grande, maybe that's going to happen in the Colorado River," he said. "And that's going to give further issues for Colorado in the future."

The Supreme Court could release its opinion as soon as June.

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