At the federal level the Water Resources Research Act of 1984 (PDF), as amended, authorizes a water resources research institute in each state and territory to:
- Provide research and training in water conservation, planning and management; atmospheric-surface-ground water relations; and water quality;
- Transfer water information through the use of technical and miscellaneous publications, newsletters, conferences and presentations;
- Provide expertise, specialized assistance and information to address water problems; and
- Cooperate with local, state and federal water agencies.
Participating institutions associated with the water resources research institute shall be New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, New Mexico Highlands University, Eastern New Mexico University and Western New Mexico University.