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Water Use & Conservation

Policy Development

The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer encourages water conservation in all water use sectors through the educational efforts of its Water Conservation Program. The agency is also establishing water conservation policy guidelines for water rights applicants.

New Mexico law states that the state engineer must consider water conservation when reviewing an application for water rights. Water right permits that are issued include a water conservation condition stating that the permittee "shall utilize the highest and best technology available to ensure conservation of water to the maximum extent practical." OSE policy on specific water conservation requirements for water right applicants is still evolving. However, there are several sources of OSE assistance to help water right applicants, and others as well, in preparing water conservation plans and programs.

A water conservation guide for industrial, commercial and institutional water users and a guide for municipal water suppliers prepared by OSE are available free of charge. Also available are draft guidelines on how to prepare a water conservation plan prepared specifically for municipal and industrial water right applicants. To request these and other assistance documents, call 1-800-WATERNM or e-mail

New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Rainwater/Snowmelt Harvesting Policy

11/24/2004 - The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer supports the wise and efficient use of the state's water resources; and, therefore, encourages the harvesting, collection and use of rainwater from residential and commercial roof surfaces for on-site landscape irrigation and other on-site domestic uses.

The collection of water harvested in this manner should not reduce the amount of runoff that would have occurred from the site in its natural, pre-development state. Harvested rainwater may not be appropriated for any other uses.

For additional information on Rainwater Harvesting, please check our page on Rainwater Harvesting, or download the