Dr. William M. Turner

Just what is geographic enhancement you ask?  Geographic enhancement is the code word that water planners use when they refer to seeking water beyond the limits of the surface or ground- water basin they plan for. 

For example, in the early 1970's the City of Tucson, in need of additional water, drilled a number of high capacity production wells in the Avra Valley, immediately west of Tucson, and began pumping water.  Farmers in the Avra Valley quickly filed a lawsuit to prevent the practice of transferring their water from the Avra Valley Basin to the Tucson Basin. 

In the late 1980's, Clark County, Nevada, filed applications with the Nevada State Engineer to appropriate all of the unappropriated water within the State of Nevada and outside of Clark County. 

In the early 1900's, Los Angeles, purchased farms and water rights within the Owens Valley around Bishop, California and then leased the farms back to the farmers.  The farmers laughed all the way to the bank.  Their descendants stopped laughing when Los Angeles began to shut down the farms and take the water in the mid-1970's. 

In the early 1900's, the railroad brought water from the Bonito River basin in New Mexico to the Tularosa Basin to provide water for steam engines. 

In New Mexico, the Cities of Albuquerque and Santa Fe have talked about geographic enhancement when cast their gaze toward the Estancia Valley.  The Estancia Valley is south of Santa Fe and East of Albuquerque. 

The term geographic enhancement is the euphemism by which politicians and water planners seek to downplay their lust for water from elsewhere.  Despite the term, transbasin transfer of water has occurred in the past and will occur in the future.  Water which is presently of little or no value in one basin may be purchased for transfer to areas where it is of higher value.

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