Climate Change

While there still remain some pockets of dispute, both science and our experience show that the world's climate has been warming significantly over the past half century.  Greater quantities of "greenhouse" gasses (carbon dioxide and methane) in the atmosphere appear clearly to be the cause.  Increased evaporation from warmth  accounts for diminishment of available water supplies.

Posts - Any technical papers, data, opinions, announcements, etc. that relate to this Climate Change issue appear just below.

State Engineer’s Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force Report

By Norm Gaume | January 11, 2023

New Mexico enters 2023 in a water crisis. But with unprecedented peril comes unprecedented opportunity.
To address that challenge, and those opportunities, a diverse task force of stakeholders from across New Mexico came together from June to November 2022, studying the problems and coming to broad, shared conclusions: our challenges are dire, but there are things we can do if we act now.

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Voters across New Mexico are concerned about water resources.

By Norm Gaume | December 15, 2022

Polling shows 75 percent of likely voters agree or strongly agree that we need to act now to ensure that future generations have an adequate water supply. Two thirds of voters agree or strongly agree that the New Mexico Government needs to modernize and dedicate more funding towards the management of our water quality and…

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Introductory Report on Task Force Recommendations

By Executive Committee | November 4, 2022

The State Engineer, as directed by the Governor, convened a Water Task Force to provide water policy recommendations. This post reports on the Water Advocates Nov. 3rd webinar that introduced the Water Task Force’s substantive set of recommendations that are…

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New Mexico Can’t Afford to Ignore the Compact

By Executive Committee | August 10, 2022

Failure to immediately control MRG water users and stop the roll toward violation of the Rio Grande Compact would, at best, represent gross negligence on the part of New Mexico’s Executive and Legislative Branches.

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Legislators Seek and Receive Advice about Water Troubles

By Executive Committee | August 2, 2022

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 …

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New Mexico Water Governance Reform is Essential to Increase Water Sustainability and Reduce Future Water Insecurity

By Executive Committee | August 1, 2022

New Mexico’s existing water governance is not working and is wrong for the 21st century.

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Rio Grande Basin Study Underway

By Executive Committee | July 6, 2022

The Basin Study will use the best available models of the Rio Grande to evaluate a wide range of climate change and adaptation scenarios.  

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Water Advocates Policy Statement: Vision, Plain Truths, and Commitments

By Executive Committee | July 6, 2022

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,…

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Planning for Effective Water Governance – A MRGWA Proposal

By Executive Committee | November 17, 2021

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…

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Annual 2022 MRGWA Conference

By Executive Committee | September 25, 2021

January 8, 2022 —- The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates will be holding their annual conference virtually starting at 8:30 am on Saturday, January 8, 2022. The session will address taking action on the urgent need for water governance reform in New Mexico. Please review the descriptive flyer. The purpose of this event, and its…

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We welcome postings on this or other water-related issues from interested parties.  Please email your posts, preferably in Word format, to the Editorial Board at Info@MRGWaterAdvocates.org

Description of the Issue

Planning, Policy, and Climate Change Adaptation

Climate change will reduce the water supply for the Middle Rio Grande, requiring that we adapt to less water.  Focus on this fact is essential.

New Mexico's Annual Average Temperature has Increased 3 Degrees Farenheit since 1970. Source: New Mexico Tech, Earth Matters, Summer 2020 Edition

Dr. David Gutzler, one of New Mexico’s internationally renowned climate change scientists, testified for an hour at the introductory meeting of the House Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee on January 17, 2019.  His summary:

My plea is that we need to modernize water policy in New Mexico as best we can and as equitably as we can but in recognition of a changing climate in which surface water supplies are diminished across the state.  I think we have no choice but to do that.  Please don't ignore what is happening with the supply of water in our state and what is likely to happen in the future.

It’s better to plan than to get thrown under the bus.  Sooner is better than later.

Increased temperatures and other climate change impacts have and will continue to reduce snowpack and snowmelt runoff, cause earlier spring runoff, increase evaporation losses and evapotranspiration from crops and the bosque, and lead to more intense storms.

Links

The New Mexico Political Report on July 3, 2020 published A river runs dry: Climate change offers opportunity to rethink water management on the Rio Grande.   The article addresses climate change challenges to our water supply and the opportunity we have to take a hard look at what we want and to make changes.

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology's Earth Matters  Summer 2020 issue is entitled New Mexico’s Climate in the 21st Century: A Great Change is Underway.  A very readable article by Dr. David Gutzler presents the science of climate change-caused reductions to New Mexico's surface water supplies that are already underway.  One summary excerpt:

A Time of Change in New Mexico

We have just described potential 21st-century changes that exceed the bounds of climate variability ever experienced by humans in the Southwest. Some of the projected changes are well underway—rising temperature, diminished snowpack, and earlier snowmelt runoff. There is nothing abstract or hypothetical about human-caused climate change in New Mexico. It’s happening now. Other projected changes, such as diminished total flow in our major rivers, are not yet easily detected but are still projected to occur later this century, when long-term changes exceed natural variability.

Advocacy Projects

All three advocacy projects of the MRG Water Advocates are directly related to planning for and adapting to climate change reductions to our surface water supplies.

The Rio Grande New Mexico Basin Study will provide a range of forecasts of our future water supply under climate change.  It will also use computer models to simulate the effectiveness of water management alternatives to adapt to a reduced water supply.

The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates believe it is essential that we begin effective water planning in the Middle Rio Grande to evaluate alternatives and select steps that we must implement if our climate change adaptation is to minimize the disruption that we face.

The Agency/Water Report card will evaluate and call attention to Middle Rio Grande progress and deficiencies.

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