NM “no charge” policy for water ignores the true costs of managing, allocating and supplying water, our most important resource. No other resource in the State is utilized/extracted without some fees.
We do not value what we receive for free. The low cost of water provides little incentive to conserve. A user fee on water provides incentive to conserve.
The State has limited dedicated funding sources to address active water management, adjudication, voluntary purchase of public water, or water conservation. The two income funds for water related planning and projects – Improvement of the Rio Grande Income Fund and Irrigation Works Construction Fund – are significantly depleted. A user fees would provide one recurring dedicated source of funding to fill this void.
How Much Revenue Would a Water Conservation Charge Generate?
The amount of revenue is wholly dependent on the amount of the user fee. There are
different alternatives policies makers may wish to consider. If we were to charge a minimal fee
of $2.00 per acre-foot on the diversion of surface and groundwater statewide, it would generate
about $6,900,000 annually, see Table 16.
Table 16: Revenues Generated from a Diversion
(aft) Charge per aft
Revenues $ 4,213,326 $2,683,404 $