Young girl playing in the Rio Grande river.

Navigating New Mexico’s Water Future:

The Water Security Planning Act of 2023

Water shortages in New Mexico, spurred by climate change, are a pressing challenge in New Mexico; stream flows and groundwater levels are decreasing, while water usage continues to rise. New Mexico is acting now to secure its water for the future through the Water Security Planning Act.

This legislation, passed in 2023, aims to revitalize New Mexico’s regional water planning. As it gears into action, let’s break down what this means for you, your family, and your community.

First Off, Why Now? 

Long-term changes in temperature and precipitation patterns, driven by climate change, demand proactive planning. This video gives a scientific explanation of what is in store, but TLDR: the projections suggest that rising temperatures will deplete water sources more quickly and drought conditions/erratic weather will compromise the recharge of surface and groundwater supplies. We need actionable plans tailored to our diverse communities to secure our water future in New Mexico.

What Happens Next? 

In 2024, there will be a dedicated effort to listen and learn from communities across New Mexico. Before establishing the rules, guidelines, and future regional boundaries for water planning, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission will host a statewide series of open houses and input sessions in communities all over New Mexico. Now is the time to get involved and voice what matters to you.

Five Important Features of the Water Security Planning Act to Know:

  1. Action-Oriented: The Act prioritizes adaptation and resilience with clear actions, expert guidance, and the establishment of a tribal advisory council. The Act also has a strong focus on required reporting on regional water planning and financial support to facilitate successful development and implementation of regional water security plans.
  2. A Tailored Approach: Local communities are the best leaders for their own regional water planning decisions, and that’s why community leadership is a main feature in the Act. Local communities lead the way in their water planning decisions, with support tailored to their unique challenges. This will be done through regional meetings where your voice matters. Find information on upcoming events near you here.
  3. Tribal Sovereignty: Respecting the sovereignty of Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations is a cornerstone of New Mexico’s water security strategy. The Act forms an advisory council, in collaboration with the Indian Affairs Department, to ensure the active involvement of Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations in shaping policies that impact their water resources.
  4. Guided by the Best Science and Data: The Act integrates the best available science and data  (including the New Mexico Water Data Initiative) to guide regional water planning in New Mexico, ensuring transparency, objectivity, and professionalism.
  5. Rural Support: The Act provides increased support for rural communities, addressing their unique water challenges through capacity development, infrastructure improvement, and tailored planning initiatives.


Plan. Conserve. Thrive.

The Water Security Planning Act of 2023 is a bold step toward a resilient water future for New Mexico. By prioritizing community engagement, local leadership, and scientific rigor, New Mexico is laying the foundation for sustainable water management. This Act reflects New Mexico’s commitment to navigating water security complexities for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Want to read the Act? View it on our About Us page here.