Community Conversations for the New Mexico 50-Year Water Plan: Managing Water for Future Resilience
Connie M. Maxwell
Alexander G. Fernald
With this project, NM WRRI sought to both 1) collaboratively develop understandings of regional water dynamics through preliminary visualizations from the DSWB and 2) distill clues for water resilience that could inform the NM ISC 50-Year Water Plan and serve as a launch pad to developing regional working groups, pilot projects, and regional offshoot modeling tools to evaluate the implementation of stakeholder-driven strategies. Between October 2021 and March 2022, NM WRRI conducted a total of 12 focus groups, interviews, and workshops in order to collect local knowledge about visions for the future, goals, vulnerabilities, support needs, and interest in changing and expanding decision-making. Each focus group, interview, and workshop included an introductory presentation given by an NM WRRI facilitator. This presentation shared preliminary visualizations from the DSWB that highlighted particularly salient regional water dynamics for that given region. In order to stimulate ideas for possible strategies and pilot projects, a brought selection of watershed restoration practices, alternative agricultural watering approaches, and crop ideas were also presented. Participants were made aware of possible funding opportunities for restoration pilot projects, and that there could be the opportunity to form regional working groups to pursue funding sources.
At this point, the facilitator opened discussion through the use of three questions:
1. What is your professional perspective on what you, your organization, and the stakeholders your organization serves value about the region?
2. What would you say are the biggest issues and challenges that your organization faces each year? And what solutions do you think would address these issues, or are worth trying? And what barriers are there to instituting these solutions?
3. Taking into account what is valued about the region, what is your desired vision for the future of your land and region with short, medium, and long-term goals?
The responses from these questions have been synthesized into the following portions of this report in the corresponding categories of “Values and Visions for the Future,” “Issues, and “Strategies.” Within each category, NM WRRI have subcategorized participant contributions into the areas of “Environmental,” “Sociocultural,” “Governance,” and “Land Use-Economics”
Additionally, on October 28th, during the 66th Annual New Mexico Water Conference, NM WRRI also hosted a set of moderated breakout sessions asking participants to share their thoughts in pressing water concerns, challenges to addressing those concerns, and suggestions for solutions. This synthesis report will serve to inform the NM ISC 50-Year Water Plan. NM WRRI will also continue to work with regional participants to co-produce potential alternative management and policy scenarios and, in the LRG model, test the scenarios in model experiments to assess their effects and ability to achieve stakeholder visions for the future.
Water management, water planning, system dynamics, water budget model, stakeholder focus groups, climate change, water resilience
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