Middle Rio Grande Water Market Indicator: Expect Prices to Remain High

Read Historical Background

Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (“ABCWUA”) purchased 50.186 AF of Middle Rio Grande water rights in 2014 and 22.541 AF in 2015. While ABCWUA did not purchase any Middle Rio Grande water rights in 2013, the 2014 and 2015 volumes are lower than the 2011 and 2012 volumes of 173.46 AF and 105.08 AF, respectively.

Prices paid during 2014 and 2015 ranged from $9,000/AF to $12,000/AF. The price varied with the quantity purchased because ABCWUA pays more for larger volumes.  The average weighted price in 2014 was $11,666/AF, while 2015 had a single transaction at $11,000/AF.

The average prices are down from previous years (see chart). In 2014, the weighted average price was $11,666/AF. In 2015, there was only one transaction at a price of $11,000/AF. Over the two-year period from 2014 to 2015, prices ranged from $9,000/AF to $12,000/AF.

MRG chart (Nov 2015)_FINAL

While prices are down compared to recent years, they are still up compared to historic levels. Prices began increasing in 2002, when a drought emergency prompted a jump to $4,763/AF from a range of $3,700/AF to $3,800/AF prior to the drought declaration.

With drought conditions persisting in the region and environmental interests, irrigators and municipalities seeking Middle Rio Grande water supplies, expect prices to remain high.


Written Marta L. Weismann