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New Mexico Earth Matters — Back-issues


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Climate Change and New Mexico’s Water Resources: A 50-Year Outlook
Nelia W. Dunbar, David S. Gutzler, Kristin S. Pearthree, Fred M. Phillips, Craig D. Allen, David DuBois, J. Phillip King, Leslie D. McFadden, Bruce M. Thomson, and Anne C. Tillery

Planning for Water Management in the 21st Century

The State of New Mexico is developing a 50-Year Water Plan, scheduled for release in 2022. Recognizing the potentially profound impacts of climate change on the state’s water resources over the next 50 years, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission tasked the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR) to carry out a Leap Ahead Analysis (henceforth “the Analysis”) of these impacts to inform policy recommendations in the Water Plan. The goal of the Analysis was to compile, assess, and integrate existing, peerreviewed, published research, technical reports, and datasets relevant to the broad topic of changes to New Mexico’s climate over the next 50 years and resultant impacts on water resources and hydrology. The Analysis is the scientific foundation of the 50-Year Water Plan. The nine authors are prominent scientists with research expertise in climatology, hydrology, ecology, forestry, landscapes, and soils.

The Analysis describes projected climate change impacts but does not propose specific water policy recommendations, which will be developed in the Water Plan itself. In this issue, we summarize the Analysis and highlight how the projected impacts of climate change on water resources vary across different regions of New Mexico. Readers are encouraged to view the full Analysis at