This paper attempts to address this increasingly volatile issue by suggesting a form of interstate groundwater management through focus on one geographical area, the Llano Estacado region of Eastern New Mexico and Western Texas. This region shares a common groundwater source that is quickly being depleted, the High Plains Aquifer (the Aquifer). Up to the present the management of the Aquifer has remained localized under each state's water law. A new management mechanism is needed because often state water laws are inapt for promoting efficient use of groundwater and are also extremely inflexible in allowing for the change of use of a right or change of right holder. This inability to control overdraft of the Aquifer has led to crisis in the southern region where the Aquifer's supply is being depleted at an alarming rate. The paper will first provide background on the Aquifer and its depletion in the region. A background of the region itself will also be provided including population and economic data. Then the paper will move on to the problems that are arising in the region in respect to groundwater and what the future problems will be. Furthermore, it will examine the perceptions of those living in the region toward groundwater and how interested political parties are responding to the issue. Last, recommendations for comprehensive groundwater management of the region will be made through discussion of the formation of an interstate commission with federal backing and representation.
University of New Mexico School of Law
Bannerman, Kim. "Interstate Management of the High Plains Aquifer: A Case Study of Western Texas and Eastern New Mexico." (2004). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_studentscholarship/43