Worm loaded for bear
The State Engineer’s power to manage water rights and transfers was recently affirmed by the Supreme Court. The process is known as Active Water Resource Management or AWRM, pronounced “a worm.’ This administrative power, based on a statutory change in 2003, is impressive – sort of a license to license that among other things enables transfers without the lengthy adjudication process. Two bills just introduced by Senator Cervantes, SB494 “Water Prior Appropriation Rules” and SB529 “Water Prior Appropriation Administration” attempt to rein in the significant power represented by AWRM. Doubtless the SEO won’t like it one bit.
At a confirmation hearing before the Senate, the State Engineer was lauded for his hard work at a tough job balancing interests. The various bills, including those that throw salt at AWRM, will test that delicate balance.
Cross-posted at El Grito