Water Rights

We are all downstream.”

— Advocacy Matters


We’ve all heard the proclamations, “water is the new gold”…”the blue gold”…”the new oil”…”you can live without love, but not without water”… “the elixir of life”… “you cannot drink money.”

As the population increases, temperatures rise in some locations, and droughts persist, there are more and more demands on our precious water resources.  Water quantity, water pollution, upstream users, and offers to buy or lease water rights, shared well agreements, prior appropriations, adjudicated rights, beneficial use, consumptive use, abandonment, diversions, as well as regulation by local governments, are issues many owners of water rights face today or will in the very near future.

Water law questions appear regularly in the practice of law in New Mexico and throughout the arid Southwest.  The frequency is increasing as the competition for limited supplies intensifies.  Best to consult Advocacy Matters before the well runs dry and you know without a doubt, as Benjamin Franklin said, the true worth of water.

Top Dozen Questions generally asked by clients:

  1. Who owns the water located on or under my property?
  2. Do I have a water right?
  3. Is a water right conveyed with real estate?
  4. How much is my water right worth?
  5. When is public notice required?
  6. Is my well share agreement enforceable?
  7. Has my water right been lost through non-use?
  8. Should I file a 'Proof of Beneficial Use' or an 'Extension of Time'?
  9. Can I move my water right or change ownership?
  10. How many homes can share a domestic well?
  11. What is the difference between permitted, adjudicated, or declared water rights?
  12. What can I do proactively to protect my water right and/or stave off eminent domain for water reclamation projects?
    Eminent Domain →

Contact: Gwendolyn Lacy, gwen@advocacymatters.net (610) 268-5507