Water Monitoring and Measurement

Monitoring and measurement of water across New Mexico, has been far less thorough than is needed to adequately plan for and manage our water resources.  While there are some programs working to improve the lack of knowledge, they are poorly funded, and in many cases suffer pushback from those who would rather not be monitored or measured.

Posts - Any technical papers, data, opinions, announcements, etc. that relate to this Water Monitoring and Measurement issue appear just below.

UNM’s Middle Rio Grande Water Data Dashboard: Status Report & What’s Next

By Norm Gaume | October 2, 2023

The Water Data Dashboard will be online at the end of this semester as an interactive website prototype with integrated graphic views and drill-down features, illustrating where our water comes from, where it is going, and what we need to know but don’t.

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State Engineer’s Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force Report

By Norm Gaume | January 11, 2023

New Mexico enters 2023 in a water crisis. But with unprecedented peril comes unprecedented opportunity.
To address that challenge, and those opportunities, a diverse task force of stakeholders from across New Mexico came together from June to November 2022, studying the problems and coming to broad, shared conclusions: our challenges are dire, but there are things we can do if we act now.

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Water Data 101 Guidebook

By Executive Council | April 23, 2021

Internet of Water has published Data 101 as a guidebook for water data users and decision makers. Around the globe and here in the United States, water challenges are mounting. As climate change, population growth, and other drivers of water stress increase, decision makers at every level of society—from governors, to reservoir operators, to city…

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Nearly Half of the U.S. Is in Drought. It May Get Worse.

By Executive Council | October 31, 2020

The New York Times published an article on October 15 “Nearly Half of the U.S. Is in Drought. It May Get Worse.” Nearly half of the continental United States is gripped by drought, government forecasters said Thursday, and conditions are expected to worsen this winter across much of the Southwest and South. Mike Halpert, deputy…

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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 Info@MRGWaterAdvocates.org

Description of the Issue

Available water and water uses in New Mexico in many cases are unknown.  This makes for hit-or-miss management, with multiple resulting problems.  More pervasive measurement of our resources and of our uses of those resources are necessary in a water-short environment.

A 2002 report from the Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission addressed the need to improve water measurements. "Good forecasts, and therefore good management, are strongly dependent on accurate measurement of streamflow, diversions from streams, pumping from wells, water levels in wells, return flows, evapotranspiration by crops and natural vegetation, evaporation from open water and snow, and many other components of the hydrologic balance. ... New initiatives such as requirements for metering of pumping, estimation of evapotranspiration through the use of remote sensing, and gaging of flows in ditches and drains within irrigation projects deserve public and legislative support."

Budget cuts have caused water measurements to decline. We have fewer operational stream gages, have abandoned monitoring of some aquifers, and have made other cuts that substitute contractor work without public reporting of data for routine monitoring of flows by the US Geological Support including their integral quality control and digital data Internet availability services.

The state water plan must include a detailed plan to ramp up measurements to the degree that will support our need to manage water as the amounts available to us decline or change substantially in order that we can supply current and future uses and comply with New Mexico's interstate obligations.



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