Conditions in the North Atlantic Ocean and the Eastern Pacific Ocean play a significant role in determining the amount of precipitation that New Mexico receives. Experts predict that although New Mexico has experienced an exceptionally wet year, drought conditions are likely to return in the foreseeable future.
Even without drought better water management of New Mexico’s water resources is essential. There is a urgent need for the Office of the State Engineer to implement Active Water Resource Management in order to be prepared for any challenges concerning water issues in New Mexico. Water users need to be actively involved in the problem-solving process.
Drought is a regular event in New Mexico, recurring in cycles. A major drought occurred in the 1950s, with severe droughts occurring in the 1970s, and most recently, in the latter part of the 1990s. If you look at a 2,000-year snapshot of rainfall and snowpack in New Mexico, drought is more the norm for this area than it is an anomaly. This is confirmed by tree-ring data, which indicates drought is a normal part of the cycle and that we may be headed for another extended drought period. During the 1980s, when New Mexicans were enjoying abnormally wet years, our state experienced tremendous growth in population.
Monthly Status Reports
Map provided by the United States Drought Monitor
For additional information on drought, please visit the Drought In New Mexico webpages