Pueblo of Pojoaque, New Mexico


Pojoaque Pueblo believes it has enough water to irrigate a 36-hole golf course under construction, but the state engineer's office says it will keep an eye on consumption. The office could raise the issue in federal court as part of a water rights lawsuit pending for more than 30 years. The first 18 holes, designed by golf professional Hale Irwin and paid for through the pueblo's casino profits, will open in July 2001, Pojoaque Lt. Gov. George Rivera said. The final 18 holes are expected to open nine months later. Once the course and an adjoining resort hotel are complete, the pueblo plans to water the golf course with purified effluent from a wastewater treatment plant, Rivera said. In the meantime, the course will be watered from a single existing well. Rivera would not comment on the so-called Aamodt litigation. In the mid-1980s, the federal court ruled pueblo historically irrigated 60 acres of land and was entitled to consume slightly more than 100 acre-feet of water per year to continue that irrigation. The pueblo contends it is entitled to consume nearly 700 acre-feet of water each year for domestic and livestock purposes. That claim is pending. The state engineer and Pojoaque Pueblo are negotiating over the amount of the pueblo's domestic and livestock water rights claims.