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Jicarilla Apache Tribe of New Mexico

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Public Service Company of New Mexico has signed an agreement with the northern New Mexico tribe that will provide PNM with a 22-year supply of water. The agreement with PNM is the first instance of the tribe's use of its water rights. The power company began negotiating with the tribe in March after the Jicarillas secured 40,000 acre-feet as part of a water rights settlement with the federal government. Since 1980, PNM has leased 16,200 acre-feet of water each year under a contract with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. That contract expires in 2005. The contract with the tribe replaces the water previously obtained from the bureau. The new contract will begin Jan. 1, 2006. Matt Lavery, director of production projects for PNM, had said the company planned to lease water from the bureau again. However, concerns over unresolved Navajo Nation water rights on the San Juan River held up negotiations for several years, he said. After nearly 20 years of litigation and negotiation, the Jicarillas received a water rights settlement that was ratified by Congress and signed into federal law in 1992. The tribe and the federal government entered a settlement contract that provided the mechanism for the tribe to develop and market water off-reservation.

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