Questions and Answers about the Governance Study Group and House Memorial 1 (2017).

This page will be updated often to provide water resource planners and others with current information regarding project status, 

The Governance Study Group and proposed Water Planning Task Force

Questions and Answers

QuestionWho Is the Governance Study Group?

Background:  Sponsored by the New Mexico Water Dialogue, a statewide meeting of regional water planners was held in July 2015 at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge:to address regional water planning. Attendees included representatives of fourteen of the 16 water planning regions, additional NMWD Board members, and ISC staff.

Discussion focused on ISC’s current round of regional water planning. Positive and negative experiences in each region are documented in the facilitator’s report. Substantial flaws in the process and product were reported.

One outgrowth of meeting was the “Governance Study Group” (GSG), a volunteer group of eleven water planners from around New Mexico, most of whom came from different water planning regions. Current members are:

Allyson Siwik
Bob Wessely
Dael Goodman
Elaine Hebard
Janet Jarratt
John Brown
Jeff Kiely
Larry Winn
Norm Gaume
Sharon Hausam
Theresa Cardenas

The GSG’s objective was to identify needed improvements to planning process. The group has met and worked together since the Sevilleta session. An early product of their work was six papers on water planning issues, which are available here. since then the GSG has worked with legislators to develop House Memorial 1

Question: Why is water planning necessary?

Answer:  In many, if not all of the regions in New Mexico, there is a gap between water supply and water demand, and that gap will be increasing as supplies decline.  In 1987, the legislature found that, “the future water needs of New Mexico can best be met by allowing each region of the state to plan for its water future” (§72-14-43 NMSA 1978)  No further guidance was provided.  The two attempts at water planning undertaken by the Interstate Stream Commission in the intervening thirty years have left the regions and the state with major unresolved issues. 

Question: What is House Memorial 1 (HM1)? 

Answer:  Because “threats to the sustainability of New Mexico’s water supplies have grown as changing patterns of precipitation and increased demand have reduced the availability of surface water, resulting in unsustainable mining of ground water in many parts of the state,” the New Mexico Legislature passed House Memorial 1.  HM1 seeks a volunteer Task Force to develop “a detailed plan or proposal for statutory, agency and regional action, to include the rationale for and results expected from the water planning, specific tasks, milestone schedules and estimated costs.”  This proposal is to be submitted to the Legislature for consideration in the 2019 legislative session.