We’re Still in a Heap of Trouble

The inconvenient truth is New Mexico’s economic well-being depends critically upon water. We are already in one of the driest periods in the last millennium and changing climate will make it worse.

Several statewide issues foretell slow train wrecks and do need attention. However, there is one water issue in the Middle Rio Grande that is urgent, potentially a fast train wreck. This article describes that urgent issue.

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Staring into New Mexico’s Water Supply Abyss

Water managers along the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) and across New Mexico increasingly feel as if they are staring into an abyss of water shortages for increasing numbers of users who depend on water supplies for drinking, for economic growth, and even for the survival of our present-day economy.  The reliable supply of NM’s surface…

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From the President’s Desk: Water Policy Progress and Tipping Points

On April 9, 2024, I witnessed a significant step forward in local government’s approach to water policies crucial for New Mexico’s future. Bernalillo County elected officials and staff have clearly acknowledged in a draft high-level plan that water poses a constraint. This marks the first official acknowledgment of hydrologic reality in Bernalillo County in a long time.

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Without Water, There’s Nothing!

A stone discovered in ancient rock layers exposed by tectonic shifts delicately picked out of its strata and examined, was found to contain a bit of water billions of years old: young water of our home, planet Earth. Young water, which itself took eons to become a source of all life: around, within, below, above,…

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Commentary: Surviving a drought

Drought – nature’s reminder that water does not grow on trees.

Drought is the time when some form of government advice or regulation prescribes that we collectively choose to reduce our uses of water, usually because of some form of government advice or regulation. It is the time when

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Communities, Common Water Resources & Jurisdiction


This is a follow-on to John Brown’s essay “To Thrive in a Climate-challenged World, New Mexicans Should Govern Our Water as a Commons.” We need to grapple with our present situation, legal environment, and predictions, but these are likely to change. We have to ask whether our present water management regime can actually bring about…

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Why Should You Plan for Water?

People at round tables in discussion

Who gets water when there isn’t enough? At a simplified level, the current “Priority Administration” regulations, if enforced when there isn’t enough water, would provide water to Nations/Tribes/Pueblos and other senior irrigators first, leaving very thirsty cities and towns. And with desperately thirsty cities and towns, the New Mexico economy would wither, taking down

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