Over 30 years ago the New Mexico State Engineer Office first instituted the practice and procedure of conditioning new groundwater permits on the future dedication and retirement of surface water rights. The State Engineer proposed to modify this practice in 1994 with Proposed Article 1-19 to the Rules and Regulations Governing Drilling of Wells and Appropriation and Use of Groundwater in New Mexico. The regulation was never adopted. Instead, the State Engineer promulgated temporary guidelines for administering permits granted under the old policy, and instituted a moratorium on the granting of any future dedications. These temporary guidelines are still in effect. Unfortunately, the interim guidelines do little to clarify the administration of existing permits granted under the old policy and leave unanswered the many questions raised by a 1994 Attorney General Opinion that asserts the old practice and procedure is illegal. This comment analyzes the Attorney General Opinion, discusses the conflicts over the dedications policy, and argues that adopting the regulation would restore predictability to the process of conjunctive management of surface and ground water in New Mexico.
University of New Mexico School of Law
Boller, Jon. "The Uncertain Present and Future of Dedicated Retirements." (1998). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_studentscholarship/60