This outlines the local situation reasonably well. A few of the early settlers here (fin d’ siecle) were farseeing and nailed down senior water rights for Carlsbad, which continues to be pretty strong in this department. As the droughts continue and temperatures rise a bit, surface water storage is going to become even less effective and it’s going to become increasingly obvious that water is best stored underground.
The dissent is as always about the flow of the Pecos and how much it’s affected by pumping. But this dissent links directly into above-ground storage. Ultimately people in the region should recognize that they are fighting the wrong battle and should address pumping overall, not the flow of the Pecos specifically, but that would mean fighting water rights that are over 100 years old.
Meanwhile what will probably happen is the mining companies will buy up the land with water rights as the drought continues and farming will suffer a severe setback in the region, which is likely a good idea, except that at least with farming, the water is given back in some manner – mining tends to pollute and even sequester it.