The following is a press release from the Office of the State Engineer.  To learn more, visit

State Engineer To Enforce Metering Order for Ditches in Mimbres, NM

 SANTA FE, NM — The Office of the State Engineer is reminding water users in Mimbres Water Master District to install diversion headgates with measuring devices on all Mimbres River ditches by January 1, 2014.

Water users who have not installed measuring devices, or water meters, by January 2, 2014 will not be provided irrigation water until the devices have been successfully installed.

State Engineer Scott Verhines issued Metering Order #184 for the Mimbres Water Master District, signed on June 12, 2013. The Order requires diversion headgates with measuring devices to be installed on all Mimbres River ditches.

Metering irrigation ditches provides a practical, measurable action to protect against illegal use of water, using more water than is permitted through a water right, and the opportunity to identify water lost. This important water management step also provides data on the quantity of surface water that has been diverted from the Mimbres River.

The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer hosted a public meeting on July 2, 2013 at 6:00 pm at the Office of the State Engineer District III-Deming office to discuss the metering order and answer questions of water users in the Mimbres District. This meeting was part of an extensive effort to work with Ditch owners to seek compliance with State statute, adjudication orders, and Active Water Resource Management (AWRM) initiatives. The Office of the State Engineer, through these efforts, is managing and protecting the public waters of the Mimbres River Stream System.

At that meeting, District III OSE staff presented ditch owners with an option to comply by signing a ditch agreement that has been used in both the Upper and Lower portions of the Mimbres River ditch system. Both the Upper and Lower Mimbres River ditch systems are already metered and managed.

During the July 2nd meeting, water users and ditch owners were also notified that a January 1, 2014 deadline was put in place and would be enforced. Metering of surface diversions is currently taking place statewide in all Surface Water districts. The State Engineer will enforce state statutes and court orders governing the surface waters of New Mexico.

Water users and ditch owners on the Mimbres River may contact the Office of the State Engineer District III-Deming office at (575) 546-2851.

The Office of the State Engineer is charged with administering the state’s water resources. The State Engineer has power over the supervision, measurement, appropriation, and distribution of all surface and groundwater in New Mexico, including streams and rivers that cross state boundaries.

The Interstate Stream Commission is charged with separate duties including protecting New Mexico’s right to water under eight interstate stream compacts, ensuring the state complies with each of those compacts, as well as water planning.