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AG warns lawmakers New Mexico could lose control of its water without putting up legal defense

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SANTA FE, New Mexico — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas is warning state lawmakers that without putting up a strong legal defense, the state stands to lose control of its water.

Balderas on Wednesday briefed the Senate Finance Committee about the legal battle with Texas over management of the Rio Grande. His office and the Interstate Stream Commission need about $4 million to continue preparing for the case, which is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Texas sued New Mexico in 2013, claiming the state failed to deliver water as required under the Rio Grande Compact.

The federal government intervened and said groundwater pumping in New Mexico is tapping the shallow aquifer that should drain back into the river and flow to Texas.

Balderas says the case is about fighting federal overreach and the theft of New Mexico's water by Texas.

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