An adequate supply of water is essential to ensure continued economic vitality and quality of life in New Mexico. To this end, the legislation for a regional water planning program, to be administered by the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (ISC), was adopted by the New Mexico Legislature in 1987 (72-1-43 and 72-14-44 N.M.S.A., Cum Supp. 1993).
The premises that water planning is best done on a regional level is due to the many variables in climate, water supply, water demand, and legal and institutional constraints to water resources management in New Mexico. Sixteen water-planning regions have been recognized by the ISC.
The ISC's 1994 "Regional Water Planning Handbook" (Handbook) and the 1999 "Acceptance Criteria" provide guidance for water plans. Regions are charged with identifying water supply, projecting demand, and where water supply is determinded to be inadequate to meet projected demand, which is almost always the case in New Mexico, regions must develop strategic alternatives to meet their water shortage challenges. Water plans must include recommended alternatives for regional water resources management, water conservation, protection of the regional public welfare, and time lines for implementing the water plan. Investigations are also to identify unappropriated groundwater resources that may be appropriated and reserved on behalf of region by the ISC.
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As a courtesy to the public, links are provided to meetings of some regional planning groups. However, the Interstate Stream Commission does not sponsor these meetings.