Governor Proposes $2 Million to Boost Water Research

Gov. Susana Martinez

ALBUQUERQUE – Gov. Susana Martinez unveiled a proposal to invest an additional $2 million to boost water research and innovation in New Mexico.

Addressing the 58th Annual New Mexico Water Conference via video, Martinez called on the New Mexico Legislature to allocate $2 million dollars in additional funding to the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NMWRRI) during the upcoming legislative session. NMWRRI works to solve New Mexico’s pressing water problems through supporting research projects at New Mexico’s colleges and universities.

“Earlier this week I proposed a significant investment in water infrastructure throughout New Mexico,” Martinez said. “It’s a major commitment, but this is the right commitment and the right time. The water challenge facing our state also provides the opportunity for us to be pioneers in innovative water research, planning, and management here in New Mexico, and the NMWRRI must play a key role if we are to succeed.

Martinez’s proposal will enable NMWRRI to provide more grants to researchers at New Mexico’s colleges and universities, expand staff and data operations, develop an annual statewide hydrologic assessment, and foster New Mexico’s next generation of water scientists, researchers, and engineers.

NMWRRI research includes projects regarding desalination, community water supplies, water scarcity and quality, as well as water treatment and watershed management. NMWRRI and its partners also work to support state agencies, water managers and users, and other stakeholders with information to better manage water resources and technology.

NMWRRI Director Sam Fernald commended Martinez’s water initiatives.

“We partner with stakeholders across the state to solve water quality and quantity problems and improve water management supporting communities, natural resources, and economic growth,” he said. “We really appreciate Governor Martinez’s support, and her focus on water management, infrastructure, and research issues. She understands the importance of water to our economy and quality of life, and the time is right for these strategic investments.”

Martinez recently proposed a $112 million capital investment in New Mexico’s water infrastructure, approximately 60 percent of the capital outlay funding that will be available when the New Mexico Legislature convenes in January. This proposal prioritizes water investments in communities that are in danger of going dry, or struggling with poor water quality, as well as water projects such as watershed and dam rehabilitation to help communities survive and thrive economically.

“New Mexico’s families, communities, and businesses deserve an aggressive approach to our water challenges. We cannot continue to build an economy that leads without securing a stable and safe water supply. Sound investments today will help ensure the water supply New Mexico needs for the future,” Martinez said.

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute is located in Las Cruces at New Mexico State University. The NMWRRI was established in 1963 by the New Mexico Legislature and approved under the 1964 federal Water Resources Research Act. The institute funds research conducted by faculty and students from universities across the state to address water problems critical to New Mexico and the Southwest. The institute also participates in joint efforts to solve water-related problems along the U.S./Mexico border.