History of the Organization

The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization that was created in 1997. Grassroots based; the all-volunteer Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates’ purpose is to advocate for a sustainable, resilient water future for the Middle Rio Grande by demanding effective water management and planning consistent with the best available science and applicable laws.

The Advocates’ Vision Statement - Create a sustainable, resilient water future for the Middle Rio Grande (Otowi to Elephant Butte Dam).

The Advocates’ Mission Statement - Seek allies, advocate for, and demand water management decisions and actions consistent with best available science and applicable law to realize that vision.

Our work is led by a team of Officers. Officers are elected by a Board of Directors which meets quarterly or more often as needed. Directors are selected by diverse Advocacy Groups at an annual public meeting conference.

The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates was founded as the Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly in 1997. The Assembly’s purpose was to conduct regional water planning for the New Mexico Counties of Sandoval, Bernalillo and Valencia through an open, inclusive, and participatory process. The objective was to achieve the common interests of the people and stakeholders of the region for a sustainable water future that balances water use with renewable supply.

Once the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan was completed and accepted by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission in 2004, the Assembly’s focus became encouraging implementation of the 43 specific recommendations in the Plan – through conducting annual public convocations, informational forums, and governmental advocacy.

Through the water planning process (1997 through 2004) and the implementation process (2004 through 2017), the Water Assembly compiled an extensive archive of planning and informational data – water budget, regional and sub-regional plans, water action evaluations, informational session presentations, links to other related water websites, etc.

In 2017, the Assembly recognized that its convening role was not having sufficient impact in causing the desired reform in New Mexico’s water behavior – both statewide and in the Middle Rio Grande region. After exploring its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats the organization decided to change its focus from convening informational sessions to advocating strongly and directly for policy actions. The name was changed accordingly from Water Assembly to Water Advocates.