New Mexico Water Access on State Trust Lands (19-NM-e)
Water Access on State Trust Lands Process
19-NM-e.1 - Does the Project Require a Water Easement or Water Rights Lease?
Depending on the specific nature of the project, a developer may choose to pursue one of two types of available water easements or a water rights lease. Generally, where water within state trust lands is already appropriated and being put to beneficial use, a developer should apply for a Water Rights Lease. In cases where a developer desires to explore for and develop unappropriated water, a type of water easement is applicable.
19-NM-e.2 to 19-NM e.4 - Application for Water Easement
A developer pursuing a water easement may apply for an exploration/development water easement or a general water easement. The necessary forms for either type of easement are provided:
A complete application for either easement requires a legal description of the land, the expected well capacity and volume of use, a plat describing any existing wells and/or equipment on the land, and a brief description of the purpose of use. An exploration/development easement has a term of one year and a minimal rental requirement of $1 per acre where only exploration activities are requested. Where development of a water resource is planned, the rental minimum (due as part of a complete application) is $1,000. A water easement has a term of five years and requires substantially more fees at the time of application, including a $145 appraisal fee and a minimum first year rental payment of $500 for each monitoring well and $1000 for each development well. Both types of water easements also require a $30 application fee. The Commissioner has discretion to approve or deny either type of application. Upon approval, the Commissioner will issue a NMSLO Water Rights Agreement and may, at his discretion, attach any conditional terms. If the Commissioner denies the application, the process ends.
19-NM-e.5 to 19-NM-e.7 - Application for Water Rights Lease
A developer desiring to obtain a water rights lease must submit a NMSLO Application for Water Rights Lease to the NMSLO. A complete application requires a legal description of both the water rights and location of proposed use. In addition, the application must explain the purpose of the water lease and expressly agree to comply with any NMOSE regulations or subsequent restrictions placed on the water use. The application fee is $50 and the lease term is five years. The Commissioner has discretion to approve or deny the lease application. Upon approval, the Commissioner will issue a Water Rights Lease and may, at his discretion, attach any conditional terms. If the Commissioner denies the application, the process ends.
19-NM-e.8 to 19-NM-e.9 - Provide Adequate Bond for Potential Surface Damage
After the Commissioner grants either a water easement or lease, the developer must provide an adequate surface damage bond or other type of financial assurance (if required by the Commissioner). The NMSLO Water Lease Damage Bond form is provided for reference. After complying with any other post-application actions required by the Commissioner, the developer may proceed with the project as authorized under the easement/lease, which in most cases requires recording and reporting.
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