NM puts focus on better water data

New Mexico Water Data :: Elephant Butte

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — How much water does New Mexico have? How much is in rivers, reservoirs or underground aquifers? What water is safe to drink, and what should be used for agriculture or industry?

A nascent state initiative aims to answer those questions with data.

The Water Data Act, which became law in 2019, requires five state agencies – the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Interstate Stream Commission, Office of the State Engineer, Environment Department and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department – to standardize data on water levels, quality and use.

The law was inspired by a need to manage the state’s scarce water more carefully, according to Stacy Timmons, associate director for Hydrogeology Programs at the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Timmons leads the implementation of the Water Data Act.