New Mexico Water Records

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United States Gotoarrow.png United States Water Records Gotoarrow.png New Mexico Gotoarrow.png New Mexico Water Records


The average rainfall in New Mexico varies considerably depending on the altitude and other geographic factors. Most of the state receives 8 inches or less with the mountain regions receiving more. Because of the overall scarcity of water, it is considered the state's most vital resource. All water in the state, both surface and ground water, belong to the public and are subject to the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation. The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation is a carry-over from the Spanish Civil Law through Mexico. The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation states that the first user (appropriator) in time has the right to take and use water; and that right continues as against subsequent users as long as the appropriator puts the water to beneficial use.[1]
The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer maintains the Water Rights Lookup. The listing is not yet complete by may be useful in tracking individual rights.


Importance of Water Records

Finding Water Records


  1. DuMars, Charles T., New Mexico Water Law: An Overview and Discussion of Current Issues, University of New Mexico Law School.