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


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, and stewardship.

Plain Truths: 

  1. As Indigenous and traditional communities know and honor, El Agua es Vida, Water is Life; and 
  2. Science clearly shows we will have much less water in the future; and 
  3. Water uses in many of New Mexico’s diverse river basin segments and aquifer systems are not sustainable now and supplies will be further diminished by 30% or more by 2070 due to historical and current greenhouse gas emissions; and 
  4. New Mexico’s de facto system of sharing shortages in most locations is inequitable; and 
  5. Water governance in New Mexico is inadequate and has been neglected for too long and, if not improved, will deprive New Mexico’s future generations, ecosystems, and marginalized communities of water; and 
  6. New Mexico’s water resources agencies require inspired leadership, restored staffing and funding, qualified staff, modern computer and data systems, the capacity to defend New Mexico in high-stakes litigation with Texas, and the resources to focus on other crucial water issues; and 
  7. Improved state, regional, and local water planning and management are essential to New Mexico’s future; and 
  8. Water use reductions and infrastructure improvements are required to secure the long-term viability of New Mexico’s water supplies and essential water uses.

The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates will: 

  1. Respectfully demand that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham fully implement her October 2018 water policy platform Managing and Conserving our Water to Preserve our Culture, Communities and Future Generations of New Mexicans; and
  2. Support the creation of a new billion-dollar state water resilience fund for planning, project development, and implementation of projects identified by approved state, regional, tribal, and community water plans that were prepared with scientific integrity; and 
  3. Urge state water officials to maximize federal matching funds for community, regional, and state water projects; and 
  4. Organize our communities to face our changing climate and obtain seats at the table to participate in water decision making; and 
  5. Secure adequate funding to manage New Mexico’s water as the scarce resource that it is; and 
  6. Encourage passage of legislation to fund and establish a framework for New Mexicans to collaboratively decide appropriate and acceptable uses of water and then change laws and policies to allocate water accordingly; and 
  7. Seek to implement an expedited and robust program of evidence- and values-based regional and at-risk community water planning in each of the diverse hydrologic regions of New Mexico; and 
  8. Support staff and funding to fully implement the 2019 New Mexico Water Data Act; and 
  9. Encourage passage of legislation to substantially improve water resources investigations and data collection by state and federal science agencies for water planning and governance; and 
  10. Demand priority administration or an equivalent shortage-sharing agreement for hydrologic regions of New Mexico where water uses exceed the sustainable water supply; and 
  11. Demand that New Mexico deliver water in compliance with the Rio Grande Compact through the Middle Rio Grande for use below Elephant Butte Dam; and 
  12. Work to ensure continuity and vitality of New Mexico’s diverse cultures through thoughtful reform of New Mexico’s water laws and governance policies; and 
  13. Support creation of a New Mexico Water Resources Department with a diverse, qualified staff and a cabinet secretary who need not be a licensed engineer; and 
  14. Support implementation of integrated water resources management, including water quality and quantity; and 
  15. Seek compliance with the State-Tribal Collaboration Act so that state cabinet agencies diligently seek collaboration with tribal governments and give full consideration to their water management strategies, policies, and concerns; and 
  16. Support water management strategies that encompass Indigenous perspectives and science; and 
  17. Defend the rights of and remedy the lack of resources for traditional communities to protect their water rights; and 
  18. Urge that water allocations provide water for rivers, riparian habitat, and ecological services. 

The Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates on May 25, 2022 adopted this statement of Water Policy Vision, Plain Truths, and Commitments as its advocacy platform.  Earlier drafts were recommended to the New Mexico Democratic Party and to the New Mexico Republican Party to consider for their respective water policy platforms. 

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