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Basic Water Law Concepts


Water problems have always plagued New Mexico. Its inhabitants have struggled with how to survive in a land thirsty for water from long before recorded history. Just as past leaders of this arid land have tried to implement policies and laws to distribute the precious resource of water equitably, our present and future leaders will continue to wrestle with how to most wisely manage water in New Mexico.

Modern water law has been forged by history. Concepts, attitudes, the language found in today’s constitution, statutes, and judicial decisions addressing New Mexico’s water law have long-standing historical roots. A brief overview of the peoples who have inhabited New Mexico provides a basic understanding of current water law.

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2008, updated 2015 by Adrian Oglesby. Contributor: Stephanie Beninato



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