There is a strong disconnection between the Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and the County Commission's decision regarding the proposed "Santolina" development and it will prove costly in the future.
The county planning commission has recommended approval with little or no information about the consequences of that decision on water supply. As surprising as that seems, it is also not at all unlikely the Commission will approve Santolina without that data. Because they can. No state or county law says anyone must prove water availability until subdivision - until the land is further chopped-up for resale. But it'll be too late to say no then.
This is by design and it is contrary to what proponents for Santolina have argued. They stated in testimony before the legislature that water and land use decisions are connected now and everything is working well. For them, maybe. The argument is that having some of the same members on both bodies some of the time magically coordinates decisions. No examples were presented, as I'm certain none exist.
Because, as I've stated before, the statutorily defined responsibilities of the boards are completely separate. The utility, the city, and the county have no coordinating, or even overlapping, planning functions. And planning isn't even required of those entities. To say that planning happens and that it is coordinated is a jaw-dropping gross misstatement.*
The water utility will make a technical decision of how to serve whatever development gets approved by the County. The consequences will rest on all of us. Sort of like:
Give us the water. Sorry about your farms. Maybe you should have thought of that before you said we could have 34,000 houses out here.
* Or a lying liar's lie.