Urgent Funding Requests for New Mexico’s Water Future
Introduction The Ogallala Land and Water Conservancy and Water Advocates for New Mexico and the Middle Rio Grande jointly propose a vital funding list to the 2024 Legislature. This list was jointly prepared by Dr. Ladona Clayton, Executive Director of the Ogalalla Conservancy, and me. It aims to help secure New Mexico’s much more resilient water future because the status quo leads to disaster. Literally.
Gaining Legislative Support As this list gains traction among legislators, it’s crucial that public support for these appropriations builds. We included the first three requests to amplify essential agency needs.
Amplifying Agency Requests
- Capacity Enhancement: The State Engineer’s November 7th report to the Water and Natural Resources Committee highlighted the need for new staff to address water scarcity and aridification.
- Water Data Act Fulfillment: Implementing the 2023 Water Security Planning Act hinges on the full realization of the 2019 Water Data Act. We seek to amplify and support funding for essential water data systems and personnel.
- Aquifer Mapping: To understand our remaining groundwater reserves, it is essential New Mexico accelerate the existing but to date poorly funded inadequately aquifer mapping program. This program will provide answers to two fundamental questions?
- After a century of pumping, how much groundwater do we have left?
- What are the groundwater exhaustion or excessive pumping trends across New Mexico. New Mexico relies on groundwater more than any other state, yet has systematically failed to address the questions that are vital to planning for water supply resilience in almost every region of New Mexico..
Supporting Regional Initiatives
- Regional Water Planning: We recommend grants for regional collaborations, especially where water scarcity is most urgent, to prepare for future planning and action as set forth in the landmark 2023 Water Security Planning Act. Presenting information about this act was the theme of all “3rd Thursday evening” monthly workshops produced by the Water Advocates in 2023.
- Incentivizing Collaboration: A new fund is proposed to provide powerful incentives for regions to prepare prioritized water adaptation strategies, as required by the 2023 Act.
- Task Force Recommendations: A special appropriation is requested for the OSE/ISC to integrate the 2022 Water Task Force consensus recommendations into the agencies’ strategic plans or provide justifications if they reject the recommendations or will implement alternatives.
Call to Citizen Lobbyists: This information is shared to encourage citizen lobbyists to voice their support for these requests. The first three items, amplifying agency requests, are particularly critical.
Legislative Session Engagement: The Water Advocates will inform subscribers about opportunities to engage during the legislative session. We urge everyone to take action because water is life, and everyone must play their part. Contact your legislators to ensure the 2024 New Mexico Legislature fulfills its essential role.
Feedback and Action We welcome your feedback and comments on all Water Advocates blog posts. Your voice is crucial in advocating for these fundamental appropriations. Together, we can ensure that New Mexico takes decisive steps toward a sustainable water future.