The desert dries up: New Mexico's water analysis predicts worsening climate change impacts
Climate change could lead to worsening water scarcity in New Mexico and state officials hope they can plan for hotter and dryer decades.
Earlier this month, state officials led by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources and Interstate Stream Commission published a draft analysis as part of its 50-year water plan, aiming to identify impacts on water supplies in the state and strategies to conserve and maintain resources.
Along with the release of the draft Sept. 16, the State opened a public comment period to solicit feedback from the public on the report with Oct. 15 the deadline for submitted comments.
The report compiled existing research on the future impacts of New Mexico’s changing climate on its water resources, intended to provide a basis for future water planning by agencies across the state.
It was in response to a directive from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham that the State find ways to ensure its water resources are sustainable for the next half-century.
“The guiding principle is that the state charts a course that will allow for more flexibility in managing water supplies and infrastructure in the face of weather extremes brought on by a changing climate,” read the Bureau’s announcement of the draft plan’s publication.
“The Governor has long recognized the importance of water to the arid state. As outlined by the Governor, the pillars of the 50-Year Water Plan are stewardship, equity, and sustainability.”
Here are the key takeaways from the State’s 50-year water report.
The future: hotter and dryer
New Mexico showed a “clear and pronounced” warming trend, the report read, resulting in decades of drought.
While the report admitted to some gaps and unpredictability in rainfall, it reported with “certainty” that temperatures would heat up.
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