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.

We’re Still in a Heap of Trouble

By Bob Wessely | May 22, 2024

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

By Mike Marcus | May 6, 2024

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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Without Water, There’s Nothing!

By Betsy Diaz | January 31, 2024

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

By Bob Wessely | January 31, 2024

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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From the President’s Desk: “The Middle Rio Grande Water Governance Forecast is for Accelerating Progress in 2024!”

By Norm Gaume | January 10, 2024

Part II – “Co-Creation of a Sustainable Water Future for the Middle Rio Grande.”
The past two years have set the stage for accelerated progress in managing New Mexico’s water resources for much greater resilience, as described in Part I, a 2023 summary report. Part II is about 2024.

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Water Funding by the 2024 Legislature is Essential. Please tell your legislators.

By Norm Gaume | January 10, 2024

Together, New Mexicans made significant strides in addressing the multifaceted challenges of water management and conservation in New Mexico in 2023.

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Why Should You Plan for Water?

By Bob Wessely | January 3, 2024

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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2023 Year-End Report – From the President’s Desk

By Norm Gaume | December 29, 2023

Together, New Mexicans made significant strides in addressing the multifaceted challenges of water management and conservation in New Mexico in 2023.

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Water Rights … and Water Wrongs

By Bob Wessely | December 6, 2023

While the rules about them are extremely complicated, “water rights” are simply your permission slip from the State to use water, if you can find it (often a big “if”).  ll too often people conflate paper water and wet water. The results can be seriously misleading or worse. 

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Clean Water in New Mexico

By Mike Marcus | December 6, 2023

Climate warming and water supply reductions also produce a range of subsequent adverse effects on the quality of our surface waters, which are forecast to impact both human and environmental health negatively. These effects also require our increased focus and concern.

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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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