2022-2023 Strategic Initiatives
New Mexico is faced with, but has not faced up to, important water resource limitations: downstream delivery obligations, federally-mandated requirements, and state-permitted water uses and authorizations that substantially exceed sustainable supplies. Without action to address articulated problems, New Mexico citizens’ current and future water supplies as well as our pocketbooks are at risk.
The Water Advocates see that these problems have arisen and have been exacerbated through cycles of legislative neglect, agency debilitation, bypassing and/or patching of obsolete regulatory regimes, and failure to take adequate account of New Mexico's diverse constituencies.
For 2022-2023, the Water Advocates have identified are pursuing four remedial strategic actions. They are:
The strategic actions are described below.
Posts - Any technical papers, data, opinions, announcements, etc. that relate to this 2022-2023 Strategic Initiative project appear just below.
The legislature’s Water and Natural Resources Committee conducted its only water-focused meeting this year July 25-26 at Sandia Pueblo. Legislators heard from expert panels on topics selected by …Read More
New Mexico Water Governance Reform is Essential to Increase Water Sustainability and Reduce Future Water Insecurity
New Mexico’s existing water governance is not working and is wrong for the 21st century.Read More
Vision: New Mexico will equitably and effectively adapt to climate change and to sustain what we value: our diverse cultures, our people and economy, food production, and riverine and riparian ecosystems. New Mexicans will act now to secure New Mexico’s water future. The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates will support equitable, evidence-based, water planning, management,…Read More
Introduction: Now that New Mexico has finally recognized and accepted the reality of climate change, it’s time to realign our water planning processes to that reality. Based, in part, upon concerns with previous water planning processes, the Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates is developing a proposal for an updated water planning paradigm. It is entitled…Read More
We welcome postings about this Water Advocates project from interested parties. Please email your posts, preferably in Word format, to the Editorial Board at Info@MRGWaterAdvocates.org.
Description of the Advocacy Project
The nature of the four the strategic actions and the Advocates approach to them are presented in the following sections.
Fund New Mexico's Water Future
New Mexico's water management entities have been increasingly starved for resources. This advocacy project is designed to remind the public and the legislature of the dangers in continuing to treat water management as a stepchild.
In particular, we seek to restore water-related funding to the agencies to reverse their decade-long brain drain, allow for competitive rates for staff, restore the infrastructure trust funds that have been raided for operations, and allow for robust implementation of the 2019 water data act.
Reform New Mexico's Water Governance
New Mexico's water governance is locked in century-old protocols, patched with statutory revisions, court decrees and agency regulations. This advocacy project is designed to develop and institute a set of protocols to make New Mexico's water governance viable for the 21st century environment.
In particular, we seek to create a cabinet level department of water resources to bring all water related governance under a single authority - surface water, groundwater, produced water, water quality and water quantity. We further seek to revise the regulatory regime to deal with the coming climate-induced increased variability, reduced availability, and degraded quality. Among other changes, this will require alternatives to strict priority administration, better control of ground water permitting, improved monitoring of actual water behaviors, and improved, ongoing look-ahead planning to address water uncertainties.
Ensure Reliable Middle Rio Grande Compact Compliance
New Mexico is annually obligated to deliver certain quantities of water to Elephant Butte Reservoir for use south of the dam and in Texas. Despite strenuous efforts each year, over-use between the Los Alamos highway and Elephant Butte has regularly led to under-delivery. We have gone from an approximate 200K acre-foot cumulative credit in 2010 to 120K debit in 2021, an annual average 32K shortfall. At 200K debit, the state will be in compact violation and draw another financially unaffordable lawsuit from Texas. This advocacy project seeks to draw attention to our downward trend and develop long-term (not just one-off) means to control uses, improve flows, and deliver reliably.
In particular, while maintaining current lifestyles and economies, we seek to establish administration that places compact compliance in better priority perspective, to incentivize shortage sharing agreements among large users, both urban and rural, and to obtain regular funding for river flow infrastructure maintenance and improvements
Equitably Share Middle Rio Grande Water Shortages
New Mexico has made more promises for water use than it has water to provide. On top of that shortage situation, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources report projects substantial (20%-30%) declines in MRG water availability over the next fifty years. That will be painful. This advocacy project seeks to ensure a fair sharing of the pain among water use constituencies such as urban, rural, ecologies, domestic, agricultural, industrial, etc.
In particular, we seek to create mechanisms that ensure balance among traditions, lifestyles, economies, future generations, etc. Among such mechanisms are multi-stakeholder water planning entities at community, regional and state levels, bona fide coordination and consultation with tribal entities, recognitgion of legal, scientific, economic, and hydrological constraints, and incentivized agreements to share shortages.