Water Matters! Updated for 2011 Legislative Session

Water MattersFour new articles have been included in the 2011 edition of Water Matters!, a workbook published annually by the Utton Transboundary Resources Center and distributed to New Mexico legislators. In addition, most of the existing articles are updated, as one of the major goals of Water Matters! is to keep current with the status of various water projects and issues from year to year. The new articles look at New Mexico's major reservoirs, water conservation as a strategy, water quality regulations and the state's rivers.

"By updating and adding new material every year, we intend for Water Matters! to become a water encyclopedia for New Mexico, with current and concise articles on important topics," said Susan Kelly (`81), director of the Utton Center. "The papers are overviews and are not intended to substitute for legislative analysis. They are written for all legislators, not just those who focus on water law and policy."

This year's edition is a new, somewhat experimental format. Only the new articles, abstracts and maps are printed. The other articles are on-line only and the printed version is intended to help readers link to the electronic articles.

This year, with a cadre of new legislators, the workbook especially fulfills the vision of its inspiration, N.M. Rep. Joe Stell, who, until his retirement from the Legislature in 2006 after 16 years, was its renowned water expert. He considered it his duty to help new lawmakers understand the history and complexities of water law. In 2007, the Utton Center committed to documenting the progression of major water topics, and since the inception of Water Matters!, a New Mexico lawmaker who has contributed to water policy has been profiled in each issue. This year, that profile highlights Rep. Mimi Stewart, whose interest in water policy spans many years.

"In planning for each year's edition, we try to anticipate and respond to what's going on in water," said Kelly. "Sometimes new legislation is in the forefront, but often, the Legislature works on the same hard-to-solve issues. There is no end of subjects to address."

February 15, 2011