El Paso Water to buy ranch for $50 million

 This would be the latest and most expensive West Texas land acquisition by the PSB as part of its long-range plan to eventually pump water from so-called water ranches from Hudspeth, Culberson and Jeff Davis counties to quench this area’s future thirst.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian ViewIt is downright painful for me to read such articles as this while knowing that there is a much better (economically and environmentally efficient) way to provide water by rejuvenating the soil’s water holding capacity with High Intensity Grazing. But nobody seems to want to listen. — jtl

by Vic Kolenc, El Paso Times from Current Argus

CL Ranch Lynch

A Handbook for Ranch Managers  The Public Service Board is in the process of buying the 26,470-acre CL Ranch in the Dell City area east of El Paso for about $50 million as a future groundwater source for a growing El Paso.

The land acquisition is expected to close this week or next week, said John Balliew, CEO of El Paso Water, which recently changed its name from El Paso Water Utilities.

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualThe Public Service Board controls the city’s water and sewage utilities.

“Based on population projections, at some point we need additional sources of (water) supply,” Balliew said. “That aquifer is a renewable source of water. It makes sense.”

Water would be imported from the ranch through an expensive pipeline system beginning in 2050, under El Paso Water’s current plans.

Combat Shooter's Handbook Reconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps Institute The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThis would be the latest and most expensive West Texas land acquisition by the PSB as part of its long-range plan to eventually pump water from so-called water ranches from Hudspeth, Culberson and Jeff Davis counties to quench this area’s future thirst.

The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) The PSB already owns 78,000 acres of ranch and farmland in the Dell City, Van Horn, and Valentine areas of West Texas for future water needs.

The CL Ranch land is made up of four separate parcels surrounding Dell City, a tiny town of about 300 people, nestled near Guadalupe National Park, and located about 75 miles east of El Paso.

The ranch is in in the “Valley of Hidden Water,” according to the ranch’s website.

The PSB plans to use a 20-year loan, with a 1.98-percent interest rate, from the Texas Water Development Board’s State Water Implementation Fund, or Swift Fund, to buy the ranch. The state board approved the loan last year.

El Paso Water ratepayers ultimately will pay for the $50 million acquisition and the anticipated $600 million bill for El Paso Water’s long-range water ranch plans, Balliew said. The $600 million includes land, pipelines, pumping stations and other costs.

The CL Ranch was started 66 years ago by brothers Jack, Michael and James “Jim” Lynch.

It’s owned by Jim Lynch, the lone surviving brother, and the children of the founders, said Laura Lynch, the daughter of Jack Lynch.

“We have been (land) stewards and conserving water for decades,” Laura Lynch said in a phone interview.

Some of the ranch’s acreage was set aside years ago with native grasses, which require no irrigation, as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program, she said.

Institutional investors have approached the family about selling its groundwater assets, but the family wanted to sell to the PSB because El Paso needs the water and the utility has a stellar record of doing these type of acquisitions with careful planning and foresight, she said.

“There’s no better hands this outfit could go into than El Paso Water Utilities,” Lynch said.

EL PASO TIMES

El Paso Water Utilities to spend $50M on Hudspeth land for future water source

The family has a cattle operation on part of the ranch, which it may continue to operate with a lease from the PSB, Lynch said. The family also had operated a gypsum quarry on the ranch, but that operation has ended, she said.

Balliew said he was unaware of any cattle or other operations on the ranch.

“We will have a wildlife biologist study it to see if it can support cattle” or other operations, Balliew said.

The $50 million would be the largest price the PSB has paid for water ranch land.

It paid $22.7 million about 10 years ago for several farms encompassing 28,000 acres in the Dell City area, but on a different aquifer than the CL Ranch aquifer, El Paso Water officials said. That 28,000 acres have active farming, which operates as Diablo Farms.

The PSB paid $2 million in 1992 for 25,000 acres in the Valentine area of Jeff Davis County, not far from Marfa, which has become an artists’ mecca. And it paid $1.5 million in 1995 for a 25,000-acre ranch near Van Horn in Culberson County, according to El Paso Times archives.

The PSB has applied for another $100 million from the state Water Development Board for future water ranch acquisitions.

“We have received interest from others in the Dell City area” to sell their agricultural land, Balliew said.

A landowner has a better standing with irrigation districts for water rights because of a Texas Supreme Court ruling, and that’s why the PSB is acquiring land and the accompanying water rights rather than just trying to acquire water rights alone, Balliew said.

More information, visit theclranch.com and epwu.org/water/water_resources.html

Vic Kolenc may be reached at 546-6421; vkolenc@elpasotimes.com; @vickolenc on Twitter.

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Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualPlanned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers.  Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.

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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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One Response to El Paso Water to buy ranch for $50 million

  1. Erik Tucker says:

    Alan Savory Told me 30 yrs ago this might happen, My thinking was ranches could be better run to make water along with growing cattle and wildlife. Not at the expense of one or the other. It could still be done. Doc I’m listen we need and should be doing more with kinda of thing, Make it win/win solution not a loss. Planed grazing is the best way to make it all work…

    Like

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