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New Mexico State University

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Water Lecture Series Features Leading Environmental Attorney

LAS CRUCES - Constitutional questions about New Mexicans' future rights to use water will be highlighted at a special New Mexico State University water lecture series March 11.

Charles DuMars, partner at Albuquerque's Law & Resource Planning Associates, will speak March 11 at New Mexico State University as part of its water lecture series. (03/04/2004) Courtesy Photo from Law & Resource Planning Associates

New Mexico's water conflicts raise constitutional issues about the federal government's power to regulate water rights versus individuals' property rights, said attorney Charles DuMars, a nationally recognized expert on water law, planning and litigation. A prime example is the government's efforts to protect endangered species, while functionally regulating away a person's right to use that water, he said.

Another question is the amount of control the state retains under interstate commerce agreements concerning water. "We've had huge issues with that in Las Cruces," said DuMars, who is a partner at Law and Resource Planning Associates in Albuquerque. "The federal district courts are going to have to make some basic decisions about the state's control over water."

DuMars will speak at 3 p.m. in Room 105 of Wooton Hall, located on the western edge of campus. His free, public seminar is part of a water lecture series from NMSU's Water Task Force, Water Resources Research Institute and civil and geological engineering department.

"This drought is putting water law to the test," said task force coordinator Craig Runyan, a water quality specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service. "There's a great deal of interest in water resource planning. Charles DuMars is one of the state's best legal experts on constitutional issues in water law."

NMSU formed the task force in 2000 to supply objective, scientific data about water issues in New Mexico. Pulled from across NMSU, these faculty and staff members are experts in water-related issues, Runyan said. They provide rapid responses to public requests for studies, white papers and expert testimony at public hearings.

DuMars previously served as a professor at the University of New Mexico's School of Law for more than two decades. He has also worked as a special assistant attorney general specializing in water matters in Georgia and New Mexico.

DuMars is a member of the World Bank Groundwater Management Team and has served on the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council subcommittee on economics and policy. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Oregon and a law degree from the University of Arizona.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Leeann DeMouche at (505) 646-3973 or ldemouch@nmsu.edu before the event.