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New Mexico is renowned for its high deserts, mild climate, and abundant sunshine. Incidentally, these physical attributes, which make New Mexico so unique and beautiful, are also characteristic of a naturally dry environment. The state has been subjected to severe drought conditions in the past, alternating with times of uncharacteristically high supplies of moisture upon which its population has at times over-relied.

This article will provide various definitions of drought and a short history of drought in New Mexico; discuss impacts of drought on the state’s human water user communities and environment; discuss in brief the priority call and water sharing agreements as tools for coping with insufficient water supplies; and examine some recent efforts to prepare more effectively for continuing drought conditions.

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