Water Resources Professional Project Reports


Schuyler Smith

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Water planning is important in all places, and particularly so in an arid state like New Mexico. How the water is used, and how much is thereby important. Often water use by the agricultural sector, is considered as an aggregated whole such as New Mexico First (2014). The objective of this research was to conduct an analysis of the growth and change of the New Mexico dairy industry, and water use to support this industry, that might better inform the future structure of state and regional water planning in New Mexico. The dairy industry has been a high growth industry in New Mexico since the 1990's (and then has leveled off more recently). The extent to which the New Mexico dairy industry exhibits a dual structure, an uneven distribution of farm sizes, with medium sized farms being less frequent, was examined. Recent changes to the national Farm Bill are also likely to impact the dairy sector. This industry has had concentration in the eastern part of New Mexico, and increasingly concentrated in terms of sales. The importance of dairy production in explaining the spatial variation in NM farm income was examined and demonstrated econometrically. A broad estimation of water use in the dairy production industry, including both direct use by dairies (32,361 acre-ft) and indirect use associated with production of animal feed (1,317,640 acre-ft), were developed following the approach of Guerrero et al (2012) in calculated based on dairy cow consumption.

Language (ISO)



water planning, dairy industry, New Mexico, agriculture


A professional project report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Water Resources, Water Resources Program, the University of New Mexico.