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Office of the State Engineer

Native American Water Liaison

The Native American Tribal Liaison deals with matters related to adjudication of Tribal and Pueblo water rights, negotiations regarding these rights, and assistance to individual Tribes and Pueblos.

The Liaison's role is to advocate equal protection of all water users, emphasizing conservation and the development of feasible alternative water supplies.

An important goal is to resolve disputes between the State of New Mexico and Indian Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations, without costly litigation. While the State Engineer began adjudicating water rights on tributaries to the state's major rivers more than 30 years ago, the water entitlements for the most of the state's 22 Indian Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations have not been quantified.

Contact information

To contact Myron Armijo, Native American Tribal Liaison with the Office of the State Engineer, email Myron Armijo or call (505) 383-4091 in Albuquerque.

Native American Water Resources

Native American Water Resources Program, created by the Governor in 1995, is aimed at promoting a spirit of coordination, communication, and good will between Tribal and state governments as separate sovereignties. Under Governor Bill Richardson's administration, a statement of policy and process was signed with the 19 New Mexico Pueblos to work in good faith to amicably and fairly resolve issues and differences in a government-to-government relationship. This policy and process also extends to other Tribes and Nations within New Mexico.

Rights to water on Indian grant lands and reservations in New Mexico fall within one or a combination of three different doctrines:

1. Pueblo historic use water rights

2. Federal reserve water rights

3. Water rights established under the laws of the State of New Meixco.

Water rights administration, litigation and negotiation leading to a settlement of rights to water is exceedingly complex when Native American water rights are involved.

Native American Water Issues - Resources and Links

New Mexico State Land Office

US Department of the Interior Indian Affairs
Branch of Water Resources

Native American Water Rights Settlement (NAWRS)
University of New Mexico

Bureau of Reclamation - Managing Water in the Southwest
Native American Affairs

U.S. Geological Survey - Water Resource Information

U.S. Geological Survey - Water Science for Schools

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

U.S. Drought Monitor