GIS-Based Dynamic Database for Water Rights Administration in the Gila River Valley, NM

Tuesday, February 27, 2018: 10:50 a.m.
April Jean Tafoya , Glorieta Geoscience, Inc., Santa Fe, NM
Paul Drakos, PG , Glorieta Geoscience Inc, Santa Fe, NM
Jay Lazarus , Glorieta Geoscience Inc, Santa Fe, NM

Water resources and water rights in the Southwest are legally and operationally intertwined, requiring water right administrators and hydrologists to work within state and federal legislation with diverse water right users, including municipal, agricultural and tribal stakeholders. In 2014 a Federal Court mandated the creation of a “Dynamic Database” to represent four irrigation districts, two Indian tribes, and a minerals corporation in the Gila River Valley which spans public, private and tribal land in southern New Mexico and Arizona. The project scope includes farm and river bottom land mapping, agricultural system efficiency assessment, water right abstracting, conducting stakeholder meetings with water right users, and map production for the irrigated agricultural lands along the Gila River. The authors developed a GIS-based interactive Dynamic Database for New Mexico which will ultimately be utilized in management of the Globe Equity Decree, providing a template for spatial databases to be used in water right administration. The database is designed to be user friendly, accessible, adaptable, spatial, accurate, and capable of distilling thousands of legal documents into a linked attribute table for stakeholders, and legal and technical experts to query. The Dynamic Database will be utilized in multijurisdictional integrated water management by the Gila Water Commissioner after a technical and legal review process. Water budgeting for the future of our shared resources involves allocation of surface and ground water rights for competing interests; interactive GIS-based databases provide accessibility and clarity for stakeholders, legal counsel, technical experts and government agencies.

April Jean Tafoya, Glorieta Geoscience, Inc., Santa Fe, NM
Ms. April Jean Tafoya is a Geologist at Glorieta Geoscience, Inc. Ms. Tafoya’s experience includes water resource planning for municipal, commercial, agricultural, and community water systems; processing various satellite, LiDAR, field collected, and historical for spatial and statistical analysis, and map and model production; preparation of geologic cross sections, drilling supervision, well design, lithologic description of cuttings, evaluation of geophysical logs for groundwater production wells; pumping test oversight and data analysis; water rights research, abstracting, and evaluation; designing and implementing geochemical surveys to determine background environmental conditions, natural and anthropogenic contaminant sources, and source water utilizing isotopic signatures.

Paul Drakos, PG, Glorieta Geoscience Inc, Santa Fe, NM
Mr. Drakos is the Vice President and Senior Geologist with Glorieta Geoscience, Inc. Mr. Drakos’ work experience includes coordination and supervision of numerous drilling, design, development, completion and testing of public-supply wells, including multiple-well and multiple-aquifer pumping test design and interpretation. Mr. Drakos has conducted geologic mapping projects for NM Bureau of Geology Quad Mapping programs, in which capacity he was responsible for mapping of Quaternary surficial deposits on seven Quadrangles. Mr. Drakos has provided technical analyses in support of numerous water rights proceedings and adjudications throughout New Mexico, and has testified as an expert witness on multiple occasions.

Jay Lazarus, Glorieta Geoscience Inc, Santa Fe, NM
Mr. Lazarus is Glorieta Geoscience, Inc. President and Senior Geohydrologist with 40 years of experience developing, implementing, and completion of multi-disciplinary water resources projects. Mr. Lazarus’s experience includes hydrogeologic characterizations, planning and training; water rights adjudication/litigation support and expert testimony; regulatory compliance and protocol development in four states and management of 13 abatements; drilling supervision, well design, lithologic description, evaluation of geophysical logs, and development of drilling specifications; program development for conducting aquifer tests and sampling of discrete groundwater zones; groundwater basin analysis; development of hydrogeologic framework for multilayer groundwater models; wastewater reuse projects; and watershed analysis and perennial yields.