Water Management Issues
New Mexico is beginning a pivot to face our increasingly arid future. Many topics and issues are highly relevant to water planning and sharing water shortages The issue descriptions summarize selected topics. All are relevant to securing resilient water supplies for New Mexicans in the face of climate change.
Related posts appear on each issue page.
Clean Water Act - The interactions between state and federal regulations to protect water quality
Climate Change - The widespread impacts of increasing average temperatures
Cultural Values - Assuring equitable consideration of the diversity of values among New Mexico communities
Domestic Wells - Balancing the authority for individuals to drill their own wells against the cumulative groundwater impact from huge numbers of them
Draining Aquifers to Extinction - Dealing with the impacts of fresh groundwater aquifers being pumped far faster than they are being recharaged
Dust on Snow - Darker snow surfaces from settling dust absorb more heat from sunlight, melting snowpack more quickly
Endangered Species Act - With increasingly scarce water supply, federal requirements to protect species compete with human water uses
Holistic Water Governance Reforms - New Mexico's water regulatory regime has been patched extensively from its 1907 basis in a totally rural state. Major reform is needed.
Produced Water - Disposing of large quantities of contaminated water from producing oil wells is expensive. Can that water be cleaned for other uses?
Pueblo Water Rights - Undefined quantities of Native American uses of water take precedence over non-native uses. Resolution of uncertainties is arduous
Rio Grande Compact - Agreement among CO, NM, TX, and Mexico to divide river waters. Overuse is causing NM to have trouble complying with its downstream delivery obligations.
Riparian Environment - Large quantities of water are consumed to maintain the natural plant life along the river. However, reductions for other uses has impacts.
Soil Health - Historical abuse of soil quality has degraded the availability of water for agricultural and other uses
Water Banking - The legal ability to defer or temporarily transfer rights and uses of water can have both positive and negative effects
Water Data - The ability to gather, house, and retrieve scattered information about water uses has been less than satisfactory. Remedial actions are being taken
Water Monitoring and Measurement - Management of scarce water supplies is impaired by many reluctance or expense of measuring and/or monitoring uses.