(The Center Square) – New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has a bleak outlook for the state’s water supply.
Her office projects that the state’s water supply will decline by over 25% over the next 50 years as she unveiled a 50-year water plan at a press conference.
Her office claims that the state will become hotter and drier, which will melt snowbanks and dry up rivers. Her office thinks the state will have a 750,000-acre-foot water shortage if the state does nothing.
The governor unveiled a 23-page plan on Tuesday to combat the issue. Among other things, it proposes public education campaigns, infrastructure improvements, updated wastewater treatment plants and watershed restoration.
Additionally, the governor wants the state to spend $500 million on desalination technology to allow the state to convert brackish water into usable water. She also wants the state to create a strategic brackish water reservoir.
“We aren’t looking for potable or drinkable water supplies,” Lujan Grisham said, according to NM Political Report. “We’re trying to preserve those. We’re identifying water supplies that do other things.”
The governor said the state should not waste clean drinking water where it can use other types of water to meet its needs.
“We should not be using our fresh drinking water in a number of industries,” she said, according to NM Political Report. “Because we don’t need to make that choice between your safe drinking water and your business. We have the chance here to do both. And that’s exactly the path we’re on.”
The report from the governor’s office notes that 75% of the state’s water supports agricultural production and evaporation, 20% goes to municipal and domestic use, 2% is for industrial use, 2% is for commercial use, and 1% is for power generation.
While the governor unveiled her new plan this week, she has been trying to address the state’s water issues for the past five years — and her past attempts at a comprehensive water plan have not succeeded in the New Mexico legislature.