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Public-private investment in New Mexico’s water future

— January 11, 2018

The hydrogeology studies group (known as the Aquifer Mapping Program), at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, received an important gift in 2016 from the Healy Foundation to benefit the New Mexico’s water and natural resources. The funds will be used to support two new water-focused, multi-year programs for the state.

The first of the two programs is strongly focused on rural communities. Many single-well, community water providers lack robust scientific data on the local hydrogeology and groundwater conditions, that could be used to better understand and inform decisions about their water future. The first program’s goal is to provide communities with reliable groundwater level data to better manage their water resources. Some ideally-constructed wells will be instrumented with real-time water level measurement devices. These water level data will be collected, stored and accessed through the New Mexico Bureau of Geology's data repository, and will be publicly available on our web site.

The second project focuses on the development of digital maps of aquifers. New Mexico is the fourth leading state for dependency of groundwater for drinking water, following Florida, Idaho, and Hawaii - notably wetter regions of the world. A state as arid as New Mexico, with as little as 0.24% of our land surface covered with water, needs (but currently lacks) detailed maps of aquifers and groundwater resources. This project will compile multiple large datasets, including geologic maps, well information from the Office of the State Engineer, and reports from regional studies. Region by region, these aquifer maps will be publicly available and web accessible.

In past years, the Healy Foundation has supported hydrogeologic research in Taos County, Santa Fe County, Union County and in Socorro/Catron Counties. This year’s funding opens the door to new water studies in a continued public-private partnership with the Healy Foundation and the Bureau of Geology's Aquifer Mapping Program.

[see more research projects...]