New Mexico has the fourth lowest annual average precipitation in the nation, yet its population has grown by over 13 percent since 2000 – a trend that is expected to continue. Increases in population and development, in the context of a lingering drought, will put great demand upon the state’s water and other natural resources. While the state’s water resources have been fully appropriated, demand for water resources continues to grow.
Irrigators hold approximately 90 percent of the state’s surface water rights; thus, other stakeholders interested in using surface water supplies must consider agricultural interests in any attempt to obtain water. Alternative uses of surface water include municipal, industrial, recreation, water to meet endangered species act requirements, interstate compact delivery obligations, and tribal water rights claims. As competition for this precious resource grows, NMDA’s participation in the water dialogue is critical to the viability of agriculture. NMDA serves on boards, commissions, and task forces to ensure agricultural interests are considered in regulatory actions and state programs concerning water and other natural resources