New Mexico’s water problems are getting worse and some legislators are pushing for more funding beyond what’s being offered in the current budget proposals.
When State Engineer John D‘Antonio resigned last year, he cited a lack of financial support for the needed water programs in New Mexico as one of the reasons.
Two bills introduced in the House for the upcoming session seek to address those issues.
Embudo Democrat Susan Herrera has introduced a bill to increase funding for the Water Trust Fund to $60 million dollars.
Along with that bill Santa Fe Democratic Representative Tara Lujan has proposed 12-million for the State Engineer.
Lujan says in conversation with D’Antonio he made it clear the department needs more funding to accomplish what it has been tasked to do.
“The budget we have is outdated," Lujan said. "With the increase of all the responsibilities and what not. We need more funding.”
Both lawmakers say New Mexico’s water problems will not be going away and will only get worse due to climate change and the ongoing drought.
Herrera says it’s been very hard on rural communities like hers that are struggling to find an adequate supply of drinking water and proper wastewater treatment.
The 2022 60-day state legislative session gets underway on Tuesday.