The Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) initiative was launched in January 2004 in response to continued drought conditions in our state. Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) refers to the essential tools and elements needed to enable the State Engineer to actively manage the state’s limited water resources. In New Mexico, the state constitution makes priority of right the basis for water administration. However, the recent drought years have compelled the State Engineer to realize that, should it become necessary to conduct priority administration, the tools necessary to do so are not yet in place.
The tools for AWRM include: measuring and metering, rules and regulations, creation of water districts and appointment of water masters, and development of water master manuals. While these tools and elements are being developed, State Engineer staff continues to encourage and facilitate shortage-sharing agreements among water users in the various basins
Stream systems identified as high priority for AWRM by the State Engineer include: the Lower Pecos River, the Lower Rio Grande, the San Juan River, Upper Mimbres, Rio Gallinas, the Nambe-Pojoaque-Tesuque Basin, and the Rio Chama.
The State Engineer has prioritized agency resources and created teams to address AWRM in each priority stream system. Each basin team includes a project manager, hydrologist, attorney, communication manager, personnel manager, and technical support staff.
In December 2004, the State Engineer promulgated statewide AWRM framework rules and regulations.