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More fields could go unplanted under New Mexico water plan

Simon Thompson

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s top water adviser is warning New Mexico lawmakers that spring runoff is expected to be grim.

Mike Hamman legislative committee members Tuesday that short-term voluntary water conservation programs like leaving some agricultural fields unplanted for a season or two would help New Mexico meet its water delivery obligations to neighboring states. Other southwestern U.S. water users are already taking action such as leaving water in Lake Mead and sending more water to Lake Powell to ensure obligations along the Colorado River can be met.

In New Mexico, officials are seeking a $48 million appropriation to expand the program that pays farmers to leave fields fallow.