Underground water supplies protected

Freedom Newspapers

The state engineer has declared administration over the Causey Lingo underground water basin in Roosevelt County and Curry County’s underground water basin has been extended. That means more paperwork for those who want to drill for water or build a well, said director of the New Mexico Water Resource Allocation Program John Romero.

State Engineer John D’Antonio declared administration rights over six new underground water basins and extended the boundaries of nine existing underground basins throughout the state, according to an Interstate Stream Commission press release.

The state engineer now has jurisdiction over all underground water in New Mexico, Romero said.

“To drill for underground water or for a well, you will need a permit. If you have an existing well drilled prior to the basin being declared, we encourage you to go declare it at our office,” Romero said.

The district’s water resource office is in Roswell, Romero said, so those who want to build or drill for water should go there to get a permit. It costs $5, he said.

Romero said the boundaries of New Mexico’s underground water basins were extended due to population growth.
“Our state is growing and there is an increased pressure of a drought. We thought we needed to get an administrative handle on (water in) the state,” Romero said.

Public meetings will be held around the state in October to discuss the basin declarations and extensions, the press release said. According to the state engineer’s Web site a public meeting for Portales is set for Oct. 11.

Information on the declarations can be obtained from the Office of the State Engineer Web site at www.ose.state.nm.us Or by contacting Paul Wells in the Office of the State Engineer at (505) 827-6120 or e-mail paul.wells@state.nm.us.