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.

New Mexico Can’t Afford to Ignore the Compact

By Executive Committee | March 20, 2022

For well over a decade, New Mexico has been on a roll toward violating its Rio Grande Compact water delivery obligations through the Middle Rio Grande (MRG) to Elephant Butte Reservoir (EBR), largely due to overuse of water in the Middle Rio Grande. For all New Mexico taxpayers and ratepayers, such a violation would bring…

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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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Webinar on ISC’s 50 Year Leap Ahead Analysis

By Executive Committee | July 6, 2021

The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission will be holding a one-hour webinar, starting at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, July 21, 2021. The session will present the 50-Year Leap Ahead Analysis that ISC’s team of technical experts has in process. When completed, probably late summer 2021, the analysis should provide a solid technical foundation for the…

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You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet

By Executive Committee | June 30, 2021

New York Times has published “Climate Change Batters the West Before Summer Even Begins” addressing the impacts to date of climate change in the western United States. The June 17, 2021, article is a broad review of the various troubles that climate change is bringing the United States already this year. A heat dome is…

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Virus Lockdowns Cut Pollution, Slowing Snowmelt in South Asia

By Executive Committee | May 12, 2021

The New York Times has published ‘”Virus Lockdowns Cut Pollution, Slowing Snowmelt in South Asia” addressing the runoff effects of pandemic-caused reduction in dust on snowpack. Cleaner skies over South Asia that resulted from pandemic lockdowns last year likely affected the timing of snowmelt in the Indus River basin of Pakistan and India, researchers reported…

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Report to Congress on Basin Studies Program

By Executive Committee | May 1, 2021

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published the Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report addressing the implications of their Basin Study program across the west. The Bureau of Reclamation on April 5, 2021 released final technical reports supporting the Water Reliability in the West – 2021 SECURE Water Act Report. Reclamation’s…

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Water Authority Pamphlet “Drought 2021”

By Executive Committee | April 30, 2021

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has published a newspaper insert “Drought 2021” addressing the water situation and the agency’s activities during the pandemic. It presents some facts and Water Authority perspectives and PR: • What it means for Albuquerque and Bernalillo County• What you can do to help save water this spring and summer•…

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“Water Risks Grow Across the Southwest”

By Executive Committee | April 29, 2021

AZCentral, part of the USA Today Network, has published “As hotter, drier climate grips the Colorado River, water risks grow across the Southwest” addressing effects of climate change in the area. The water level of Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, has dropped more than 130 feet since the beginning of 2000, when the lake’s…

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Hope and Resilience

By Executive Committee | April 8, 2021

El Salvador In 2004, “white men in suits “from Canada, Australia and the USA descended upon El Salvador – they were the advance guard of the Pacific Rim Mining corporation. Their mission: to promote the OceanaGold mine deep in the interior. Initially many people were excited at the prospect of prosperity that Pacific Rim promised.…

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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

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.


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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