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Water Reuse in New Mexico


Reclaimed Water

The New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) regulates the use of reclaimed water. A guidance document developed by the NMED is available at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/gwb/documents/NMED_REUSE_1-24-07.pdf. The NMED requires a groundwater discharge permit for reuse applications. Additional information is available at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/gwb/NMED-GWQB-Regulations.htm

The New Mexico Water Trust Board is charged with prioritizing projects for recommendation to the Legislature for financing from the Water Project Fund and the Water Trust Fund, and adopting rules and regulations governing the terms and conditions of grants or loans made from the Water Project Fund. The Board has funded several relatively small reuse projects for Carlsbad, Deming, Las Vegas, and Cloudcroft over the last couple of years. Albuquerque and Rio Rancho are also actively pursuing reuse projects.

Reuse of wastewater for irrigation and for flushing toilets is also beginning to be considered for new developments.

 

Gray Water

The 2003 New Mexico Legislature passed a landmark bill which allows small amounts of gray water to be reused for landscape irrigation at residences without the burden of regulatory permits as required earlier. A gray water irrigation guide is available at: http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/OOTS/GRAY%20WATER%20IRRIGATION%20GUIDE1.pdf.

 

Rainwater Harvesting

In New Mexico, rainwater collection is now conducted mostly on an individual homeowner basis. However, as a recent residential development in Santa Fe has shown, we can expect to see such collection systems in future subdivisions (http://www.ose.state.nm.us/wucp_RainwaterHarvesting.html).

 

New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Rainwater/Snowmelt Harvesting Policy

The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer supports the wise and efficient use of the state's water resources; and, therefore, encourages the harvesting, collection and use of rainwater from residential and commercial roof surfaces for on-site landscape irrigation and other on-site domestic uses.

The collection of water harvested in this manner should not reduce the amount of runoff that would have occurred from the site in its natural, pre-development state. Harvested rainwater may not be appropriated for any other uses.

A guide to rainwater harvesting is available at http://www.ose.state.nm.us/water-info/conservation/rainwater-harvesting.pdf. This basic introduction to rainwater harvesting introduces ways to capture, divert, and store rainwater for landscaping purposes. It includes easy-to-understand diagrams and examples.