Office of the State Engineer Logo

Interstate Stream Commission

Lower Rio Grande (LRG)
Water Management Pilot ProjectLRG MAP

Important Notice: The 2022-2023 application period has closed.

We are currently evaluating applications that were submitted for the 2022-2023 program. Thank you to everyone who submitted applications.


The State Legislature appropriated $7 million in 2020 to the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (NMISC) to develop and fund a Water Management Pilot Project (Project) for the Lower Rio Grande for fiscal years 2020 through 2023.  The purpose of the Project is to examine and test a variety of water management actions designed to reduce water consumption in the Lower Rio Grande basin (LRG) and promote long-term sustainability within the New Mexico portion of the Rio Grande Project.

The Project intends to develop an array of tools that can be used in the LRG in the future to better manage water, especially during extended drought.  Water management actions to be examined and tested over the next three fiscal years may include:

  • groundwater conservation pilot program
  • aquifer recharge
  • infrastructure improvement
  • supply augmentation. 

The primary focus has been groundwater conservation, evaluating local governance alternatives, and working with local LRG entities to establish a water user entity to manage longer-term Project efforts in conjunction with the NMISC. 

The first phase of the Water Management Project is a Groundwater Conservation Pilot Program.

Groundwater Conservation Pilot Program

The purpose of the Groundwater Conservation Pilot Program (Program) is to initiate groundwater conservation actions that will ensure that New Mexico has a sustainable groundwater supply not only today, but for future generations of New Mexicans. Under the Program, grants are provided to compensate irrigators for temporarily conserving groundwater by not irrigating previously irrigated parcels.

During the initial phase (2021) of the Program, the NMISC awarded 24 grant agreements to participants, encompassing 1,272 acres for a total of $865,000 in grant payments.

Between August 9 - 23 and October 4 - 22, 2021, the NMISC accepted grant applications, for a second phase of the Program, from members of the agricultural community that were willing to conserve groundwater during 2022-2023. A total of 50 applications were received during the second phase, encompassing more than 2,600 acres. Successful applicants will receive grant funding to temporarily stop the use of groundwater for an 18-month period beginning January 1, 2022. A review of these applications is currently on-going.

Past Informational Session Webinars

The NMISC hosted a series of Application Information Sessions for members of the agricultural community interested in participating in the 2022-2023 program. The sessions covered grant objectives, eligibility, the application requirements, timeline, and funding. The sessions also provided a review of the grant application form and on-line platform.

To open a recording of the Webinar for the date listed below, please click the link, and provide the registration data to "View the Recording".
The archived session dates and times are: