Water Resources Professional Project Reports

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



The Lower Rio Grande basin in New Mexico is currently undergoing water right adjudication. The adjudication process is important to identify and quantify water uses throughout the Lower Rio Grande. It is intended to facilitate water rights administration by the Office of the State Engineer. Where water users do not understand the purpose and process, they may not participate effectively. Through conversations with irrigators and others familiar with the situation, I explore some of the water users perspectives regarding the adjudication. In general, the water users find the adjudication packets received from the Office of the State Engineer difficult to understand because of the legal terminology used and therefore intimidating. Many complained that they don't understand what the purpose and expected outcome of the adjudication is. They do not know where they can find a trustworthy source of information that is intelligible to them. I developed the workshop about adjudication with these concerns in mind using the communication networks of community ditches as a vehicle for publicizing the workshop. Evaluation of the workshop through observation and analysis of participant responses indicates that it provides water users with the information they need. Nonetheless, I present a number of recommendations for improving future offerings of such a workshop. Exploring the dynamics of several community ditches with primarily small tract irrigators also provided insight into the complexities of developing and maintaining effective community ditch associations. The organizational status of community ditches reduces their effectiveness as a means of disseminating educational information regarding adjudication.

Language (ISO)



Lower Rio Grande, Mesilla Valley, water rights adjudication, community ditches (acequias), Community Ditch Association, workshop design, interview protocol, small tract irrigators


A Professional Project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, University of New Mexico, December 2009.