— November 15, 2019
A recent article in Outside magazine by Philip Kiefer discusses the importance of gathering water data in a systematic way and maintaining a publicly-available database that can support policy decision-making. The article highlighted the role of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources in implementing the New Mexico Water Data Act (House Bill 651) passed by the State Legislature and signed into law by Governor Lujan Grisham in April, 2019.
A multi-year initiative, the Water Data Act will develop an integrated approach to collecting, sharing, and using water data from various state, federal, and nongovernmental agencies. The Bureau’s role is to convene the directing agencies named in the Water Data Act, which includes the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission, Office of the State Engineer, New Mexico Environment Department, and Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. The goal of the group is to make water data more accessible, findable, and useable through an integrated water data service currently being constructed with the help of the University of New Mexico’s Earth Data Analysis Center. Water measurements available may include streamflow, precipitation, groundwater use and level, municipal and industrial water use, reservoir and irrigation system operations, water rights, and ecological data related to riparian and aquatic systems.
In the Outside article, NM Bureau Associate Director for Hydrogeology Programs Stacy Timmons discusses the difficulty of making data historically produced by separate entities compatible, and the necessity of doing so to support informed decision-making and water conservation.
For more information about the Bureau’s role in implementing the Water Data Act, contact Stacy Timmons at firstname.lastname@example.org.