28th Annual Meeting Archive

For those who are interested in materials from the 2022 Annual Statewide meeting, the following are available.


Recordings of the event are available on our YouTube channel




Coming soon

Break Out Groups Summary

Participants Take the Stage: Eileen Dodds, NMWD secretary-treasurer, kicked off a Dialogue tradition, “Table Talks,” or in this case, Zoom breakout rooms. Attendees could use their own experience and expertise to look at climate change impacts and adaptation strategies, while providing valuable feedback to the ISC on the seven topics drawn from the state’s 50-year water plan. For each topic the assignment was to identify impacts from climate change and offer strategies to deal with those impacts. Many of the impacts, they noted, may not be directly the result of climate change (now and in the future) but will be worsened by it if action is not taken.  Highlights from the report-outs follow:

Ecological Impacts and Strategies: (2 groups)

Threat to instream flows from competing demands

  • Inventory streams to prioritize restoration efforts on public and private lands
  • Consider ecological offsets for water leases/rights for ecologically harmful uses
  • Change the N.M. Constitution to omit “unappropriated” from “all unappropriated waters belong to the people of N.M.”
  • Develop policies to keep water in-stream for environmental flows.
  • Aridification of air and soil on high elevation forests
  • Focus on climate change and sustainability in restoration project plans
  • Access new federal funding and state tech support for ecologically based projects (Forest Action Plan).
  • Reintroduce fire to open the canopy for more snow on forest floor; reduce risk of large high-severity fires; help trees resist beetles and fire (“keystone disturbance”).

Lack of awareness among public and policy makers

  • Support and utilize local protection and restoration knowledge; increase local technical capacity
  • Educate students throughout the state on natural and water resources stewardship.
  • Create N.M. Water Resources Department to centralize all water-related state offices.  

Dry Rivers

  • Educate legislators on water issues
  • Bring all voices to collaborate on river management.
  • Reduce consumption across the board.

Depleted aquifers

  • Allocate permanent funding for state Water Data Act.
  • Coordinate use of surface and groundwater (conjunctive use).
  • Recharge aquifers with treated water.
  • Find lessons, ideas in other states.

Agricultural Impacts and Strategies (2 groups)

Competition between agricultural and domestic uses

  • Allow fields to go dry (water fallowing).
  • Understand the ecological values of agriculture: urban green space, carbon suppression, wildlife habitat, ecosystem

Depletion—mining water

  • Support conservation easements and lease agreements.
  • Plant dryland crops.
  • Monitor and care for soil health and moisture containment.

Watershed and rangeland management—assess old management systems

  • Learn from farmers and ranchers what works on the ground.
  • Increase water infiltration in soil and aquifers.
  • Design a process for all stakeholders to contribute, listen and leave their egos at home.

The Collective Good—inability of many to listen and compromise

  • One-size and top-down doesn’t work; the top needs to know what’s happening on the ground.
  • Set up stakeholder working groups by regions, use water budgets, integrate with state socio-economic management goals

Water Quality Impacts and Strategies

Funding—There is a need to ensure that quality gets its share.

  • Secure federal funding for water-quality initiatives.
  • Make regulatory changes to connect water quantity and quality agencies and promote collaboration, with linked funding.


  • Coordinate surface and groundwater use (conjunctive use)
  • Regulate potash mines
  • More comprehensive monitoring of water resources and groundwater pumping
  • Colorado Salinity Forum is a good model.

Culture and Tradition Impacts and Strategies

Lack of recognition of the Indigenous perspective on climate change and water.

  • More space for community-to-community conversations
  • More recognition and inclusion of community perspectives in wide variety of forums, not just with government agencies

Growing need to recognize the rivers as living beings, in ecological and spiritual contexts

  • Promote rights for rivers
  • Respect what rivers need to promote and sustain future generations

Broken relationships between communities around water issues

  • Build relationships and trust with conversations that include all perspectives.

Public Water Systems (PWS) Impacts and Strategies

Financial capacity—The vast majority of community water systems serve fewer than 5,000.

  • Prioritize capacity-building for operational and maintenance needs of smaller water systems to give them equal weight to large systems.
  • Work to provide long term federal or state funding for local and tribal systems.

Technical capacity—not enough certified public water operators

  • Make water operator careers attractive and accessible for young people.
  • Use “Help N.M.” (Workforce Solutions) fund operators.
  • Highlight the need for water operators in the 50-Year Water Plan.
  • Highlight success stories—Navajo Nation Department Water Resources investment in incentivizing water operations careers for youth

Managerial capacity—how to make sure we have water where we need it

  • PWSs can share resources and equipment (bookkeeper, backhoe, operators, etc.).
  • PWSs can do creative water rights sharing.
  • Outreach for reuse can work on very small scale—gray water to landscape, etc.

Economic and Recreational Impacts and Strategies

Influx of funding—need to be sure it’s equitably distributed

  • Create process for all interests to meet, discuss intrinsic values of water, including non-market
  • All water needs are intertwined—agriculture, wildlife, recreation, urban, rural, commercial

Rural and natural areas “loved to death” lose their value as an asset for recreation.

  • Advocate for adequate funding for agencies to address impacts of overuse.
  • Encourage planning from below.
  • Prioritize data gathering; good decisions need good data.

Competition with other uses for water

  • Create “Roundtable” based on Colorado model, where people can listen, find solutions together and break down silos of interests.
  • Advocate for policies that help communities protect and manage their resources.

Hydrologic Processes Impacts and Strategies

Soil condition—damage from fire, drought, temperature, pollution, erosion

  • Improve herbaceous and shrub layer ground cover, statewide.
  • Help ranchers and the agricultural community improve soil condition.

Stream and headwaters degradation—need to restore and protect

  • Minimize red tape for restoration projects.
  • Bank storage; floodplain as a sponge; aquifer monitoring; reconnect streams
  • Sustainable rangeland management

Lack of awareness, concern, political will—education and outreach

  • Clear messaging (fact-based and heartfelt), authentic delivery
  • Engaging communication strategies (advertising, campaigns, etc)
  • Build community

From the Chat: Recommended Resources

Resources from Chat Day 1

A Confluence of Anticolonial Pathways forIndigenous Sacred Site Protectionhttps://ucowr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/169_Ellis_and_Perry.pdf

Tulley-Cordova, C., N. Tulley, B. Becker, and Chief, K. 2021. Chronic wicked water problems in the Navajo Nation heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. In Megdal, S. and L. Beutler (ed.) Wicked Water Problems. Water Resources IMPACT Magazine 23(1):16-18. https://online.flippingbook.com/view/167753/16/

Chief, K., R. Arnold, A. Curley, J. Hoover, M. Kacira, V. Karanikola, K. Simmons-Potter, and E. Tellmano. 2021. Addressing food-energy-water insecurities of the Navajo Nation through university-community collaboration. In Megdal, S. and L. Beutler (ed.) Wicked Water Problems. Water Resources IMPACT Magazine 23(1):31-33. https://online.flippingbook.com/view/167753/32/

MRG Water Advocates have compiled a comprehensive list of expanded funding needs.  Please contact me at rjwrons@comcast.net

Huizar, L.; Yazzie, C.B.; Mohammadi Fathabad, A.; Cheng, J.; Lansey, K.; and Arnold, R.G. (2020). The Colorado River, Native American water rights, climate change, and the drought contingency plan.  The Kachina News, Quarter Two, p23-29. 

Mohammadi Fathabad, A.; Yazzie, C.B.; Cheng, J.; and Arnold, R.G. (2020). Optimization of solar-driven systems for off-grid water nanofiltration and electrification.  Reviews on Environmental Health. 35  (2) 211 to 217. doi:10.1515/reveh-2019-0079


Interesting study on regionalization and other solutions to increase resiliency for small systems/domestic wells: https://rcap.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/RCAP-Regionalization-Research-Report-Exec-Summary-final.pdf

Active Water Resources Management and the Strategic Water Reserve. See:https://uttoncenter.unm.edu/resources/research-resources/active-water-resource-mgmt.pdf AND https://uttoncenter.unm.edu/resources/research-resources/strategic-water-reserve-.pdf

The New Mexico Water Dialogue thanks the Hanuman Foundation for its on-going support of the New Mexico Water Dialogue.