Underground water supplies protected

CNJ staff

Curry County’s underground water basin boundary has been extended. That means more paperwork for those who want to drill 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.

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, which costs $5.

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 Interstate Stream Commission press release said.

Information on the declarations can be obtained from the Office of the State Engineer Web site at www.ose.state.nm.us