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Water Reuse

New Mexico has an arid climate, with lots of sunshine and little rain. Because of this increased risk of droughts, New Mexico faces a critical water shortage that threatens our sustainability and requires immediate action to ensure adequate water supply for future generations. New Mexico’s 50-Year Water Action Plan identifies water reuse as a critical solution to address our water challenges, drawing on cutting-edge technology to protect the environment and public health.

Water reuse is an important strategy to supplement and prolong our existing freshwater supplies. Reusing water protects rivers and aquifers from being overdrawn and provides relief for New Mexico’s water sources in times of drought.

Water Types

Produced & Treated Produced Water

Produced water comes out of a well during crude oil and gas production.

Direct & Indirect Potable

Potable water, or drinking water, needs to be safe for people to drink.

Brackish Water Desalination

Brackish water, which contains more salt than freshwater and comes from aquifers, can be evaporated and condensed to be turned into freshwater.

Reclaimed Wastewater

Treating and using wastewater for industrial use frees up water sources that can be used for drinking.

Commercial Gray Water

Commercial gray water is generated from activities such as washing dishes, running showers, and laundry.

The upcoming water reuse rules will aim to establish guidance on upcoming projects, simplify permitting processes, and require data-sharing that will help lawmakers make future laws about the newest technologies.

Benefits

Improve New Mexico’s Climate Resilience

Over the next 50 years, New Mexico is predicted to experience drier conditions and longer, more severe droughts. This will require new ways to preserve New Mexico’s water supply. Reusing water is how we plan to reduce the pressures on our freshwater resources and increase our water security.

Educate New Mexico Residents About Water Treatment & Its Uses

As new technologies for water reuse are developed and demonstrated to be safe, NMED wants to ensure that the public, communities and industries are aware of the requirements, impacts, and benefits of reuse.

Increase Savings

In many instances, water reuse technologies and strategic uses can reduce energy use when treating and distributing water. Investing locally in water reuse can create savings for communities.

Support Ecosystems

Riverbank ecosystems and habitats need enough water flow to support wildlife, water quality, and overall ecosystem health. Water reuse can potentially reduce stress on water flow, especially in waterways with canals and dams.

Support Economic Growth

When wastewater is safely reused, it can free up fresh water for other beneficial uses such as farming, drinking water, and supporting New Mexico’s economic growth

Current Rulemaking

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), is drafting the State’s Ground and Surface Water Protection – Supplemental Requirements for Water Reuse (20.6.8 NMAC), focusing on limited reuse of treated produced water, which is a byproduct from oil and gas activities.

Rulemaking Documents

Document AuthorDate
Public Involvement Plan (PIP)GWQBOct. 19, 2023
Notice of 30 Day Public Comment Period on Proposed Rule
(English/ Spanish)
GWQBNov. 1, 2023
Draft Rule for Public Comment GWQBNov. 1, 2023
Public Comment Portal Link (Note: the public comment period
for the draft rules closed on Dec. 1, 2023)
GWQBNov. 1, 2023-Dec. 1, 2023
Petition and Hearing RequestGWQBDec. 28, 2023
Public Comments submitted to NMED from:
J CarverNov. 2, 2023
D MacInessNov. 4, 2023
J KlingelNov. 4, 2023
C FresquezNov. 6, 2023
M Hightower – NM Produced Water Research ConsortiumNov. 10, 2023
J Griswold – NM Oil Conservation DivisionNov. 16, 2023
S GlassNov. 20, 2023
C ScruggsNov. 25, 2023
J Bock – Upper Hondo SWCDNov. 28, 2023
A Chavez – San Juan Water CommissionNov. 29, 2023
H Dalton – Colorado PWCNov. 29, 2023
C Thomas – Petroglyph ConsultingNov. 30, 2023
Z Scott – Clean Water SolutionsNov. 30, 2023
T UlrichNov. 30, 2023
Amigos Bravos, Breath of My Heart Birthplace, Center
for Biological Diversity, Diné Centered
Research and Evaluation, Earth Care, Earthworks,
Environmental Defense Fund,
First Congregational United Church of Christ
Albuquerque, Gila Resources Information Project,
New Mexico Acequia Association, New Energy Economy,
New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light,
New Mexico Wild, Sierra Club, Rio Grande Chapter, Youth
United for Climate Crisis Action, Water Advocates for
NM and the Middle Rio Grande,
Western Environmental Law Center
Dec.1, 2023
J Farber – Exxon MobilDec. 1. 2023
S Burt-Kested – Freeport McMoRan Chino MinesDec. 1, 2023
J Hendricks – Renovo ResourcesDec. 1, 2023
H Witson – Element 3 ResourcesDec. 1, 2023
M Troutman – Wild Earth GuardiansDec. 1, 2023
K Martin – Oilfield WitnessDec. 1, 2023
D Shuryn – Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility AuthorityDec. 1, 2023
M Hamman – NM State Engineer, Office of the State EngineerDec. 1, 2023
Amigos Bravos, Environmental Defense Fund, New Mexico Acequia Association, Rio Grande Chapter-Sierra Club, Western
Environmental Law Center – T Fox
Dec. 1, 2023
MR deValladeres – ATOME EnergyDec. 1, 2023
K Deal – Select Water SolutionsDec. 1, 2023
J Smitherman – NMOGADec, 1, 2023
W Dobson – Solaris Water MidstreamDec. 1, 2023
M Henkels – NMSU Department of AgricultureDec. 1, 2023
Y Barney – Navajo Nation EPADec. 8, 2023
Order Appointing Hearing OfficerJan 30, 2024
Public Hearing Notice in English and SpanishMar 8, 2024
Pleadings Log (through WQCC Docketed Matters 23-84)Mar 8, 2024
Current Version of Proposed Reuse Regulations 20.6.8 NMACMay 6, 2024
Notice of Hearing Continuation
Aviso de Continuación de la Audiencia Pública-Espanol
August 5, 2024
5 de agosto de 2024
Administrative Record and Hearing Transcript

Future Rulemaking

Over the next 18 months, NMED will evaluate and share information on new rules about water reuse. Additional information on rulings and timelines will be posted here when they become available.

Contact Us

Main Ph: 505-827-2855
800-219-6157

Headquarters Location
Harold Runnels Building
1190 St. Francis Dr. Suite N4050
Santa Fe, NM 87505

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