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SB 648: STATE ENGINEER POWERS & DUTIES

An Act Relating To Water; Amending Sections Of Chapter 72 Nmsa 1978 To Ensure Administration Of The Prior Appropriation Doctrine Of The Constitution Of New Mexico; Changing The Powers And Duties Of The State Engineer.

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MOD SB 648
STATE ENGINEER POWERS & DUTIES

Legislative URL:
SB 648 on nmlegis.gov
Emergency Clause:
No
Germane:
N/A
Location:
SCONC
Action:
[10] SCONC/SJC-SCONC API.
Issue(s):

Related Legislators

Bill Sponsor:

Related Documents

Downloads:
Introduced
Fiscal Impact Report

Related Events

Upcoming:
Summary

This bill provides that the State Engineer will only have the authority to administer water that is either the subject of permits and licenses issued by the Office of the State Engineer or adjudicated by a court in a manner consistent with the doctrine of prior appropriation under the constitution of New Mexico.

 

The bill also provides that the State Engineer:

  • will have no adjudicatory authority to determine or alter the legal elements of a water right;
  • may not use the State Engineer’s authority to extinguish a water right except through the appropriate abandonment or forfeiture proceedings; and
  • may only provide technical support in disputes concerning or adjudicating the waters of the state.

 

One benefit of this bill might be that it will help clarify the extent of the authority of the OSE, avoid unnecessary litigation, and minimize costs and delays related to determination of water rights priorities. Another might be that it could help protect older water rights that are “first in time, first in right.”