SANTA FE – Suffering through the state’s worst drought  in 60 years, New Mexico farmers and ranchers may get help from the Roundhouse ­– but at a hefty price for taxpayers.

Senate Bill 440, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Cervantes, D-Las Cruces, calls for $120 million for the Interstate Stream Commission to “acquire, retire, protect and conserve” water in the lower Rio Grande basin, which has degenerated in some spots from a mighty river to a slow-moving stream due to the lack of rain and snow.

“We’re not getting water down to the southern part of the state, and we’ve got to find ways to addresss that,” Cervantes told New Mexico Watchdog. “One of the ways to address that is to import some water from outside the district. Another way to do that is acquire senior water rights.”