50-Year Water Action Plan
As New Mexicans face increasing water scarcity and emerging threats to our existing resources, we will meet our goal of providing sustainable clean water to communities by implementing this plan.
Message from the Governor
There are few places in the world where water holds such profound significance as here in New Mexico. The original inhabitants of the southwest have recognized the life-sustaining import of water for thousands of years. Today, it also holds immeasurable cultural, agricultural, ecological, economic, and recreational value. The effects of climate change now threaten this precious resource. By the time a Class of 2024 high school graduate reaches retirement age, New Mexico will have 25% less water than we do today in our already over-stressed communities, farms, and wilderness areas.
The science is clear: Precipitation will be more variable and extreme. Snowpack, runoff, and aquifer recharge will decline, stressing surface water and groundwater supplies. Higher temperatures and greater aridity will dry landscapes, leading to more extreme wildfires and increased erosion.
We cannot wait to act – and we are not.
We have the time, resources, and technology to secure a strong water future. We will draw upon New Mexico’s rich heritage of forward-thinking water management. We will build on the vital work of the 2022 New Mexico Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force and harness expertise from water stewards across our diverse state, as well as from some of the finest research institutions in the world, including New Mexico universities and national laboratories. We will continue to use science, innovation, and cultural history as our reliable guides to navigate these water challenges while fostering greater economic opportunities and resilience for future generations of New Mexicans.
By following the path laid out in this plan, we not only ensure that New Mexicans have clean water now and into the future, but also that an advanced clean energy economy can continue to thrive, farmers and ranchers continue to grow the food that sustains us, and our rivers remain swift and clear.
Using the knowledge gained over countless generations and the cutting edge innovation of today, we are rising to meet this moment.
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham
Water in New Mexico
Today and in the Future
What We Are Doing to Increase Water Security
The 50-Year Water Action Plan will help address the reality of a reduced supply in the future.
EST. IMPACT: 660,000 AF PER YEAR
- Develop a public education campaign
- Incentivise agricultural water conservation
- Reduce leaks in drinking water infrastructure and increase municipal conservation
- Improve water storage and delivery systems
New Water Supplies
EST. IMPACT: 150,000 AF PER YEAR
- Establish a $500M strategic water supply to spur investments in desalination and wastewater treatment
- Adopt policies to expand potable and nonpotable water reuse
- Improve groundwater mapping and monitoring
Water and Watershed Protection
- Cleanup contaminated groundwater sites
- Protect surface water by controlling pollution through a discharge permitting program
- Modernize wastewater treatment plants and stormwater infrastructure
- Protect and restore watersheds
List of Related Resources
NM Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force Report
Climate Change in New Mexico Over the Next 50 Years: Impacts on Water Resources (Leap Ahead Report)
Recommendations from Tribal Water Working Group
Recommendations from the Acequia Water Planning Working Group
Water Security Planning Act
New Mexico Water Use by Categories
NM Aquifer Mapping Program
EPA Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Assessment
New Mexico 2020 Forest Action Plan