Water Rights Adjudication

Water rights adjudications are court proceedings that determine the ownership and scope of water rights.  Adjudications are required by state statute. The purpose of water adjudication is to obtain a judicial determination and definition of water rights within the stream system and related underground basins so that the State Engineer may effectively administer water rights within the lower Rio Grande basin and meet New Mexico’s interstate compact obligations.

Lower Rio Grande Water Rights Adjudication

The Lower Rio Grande water rights adjudication, also known formally as the case of "State of New Mexico ex rel. State Engineer v. Elephant Butte Irrigation District", encompasses the Rio Grande from Elephant Butte Dam south to the state line and the surrounding areas of Nutt Hockett, Rincon Valley, Northern Mesilla, Southern Mesilla, and outlying areas.  The Honorable James Wechsler is the presiding adjudication judge.  The adjudication process is designed to identify and determine all water rights in the basin, including the priority date of the water right, the quantity of water, the purpose and place of use, and the ownership of the right.  For more information, please visit the State of NM Lower Rio Grande Adjudication website and the NM State Engineer website linked on the left side bar.

If you claim a water right in the lower Rio Grande basin, the State of New Mexico may have already joined you as a party defendant to the Lower Rio Grande Adjudication if you received a Summons and a copy of the General Adjudication Complaint.

Water rights claimants, including those who claim a right to a domestic well, should have already filled out Form A and mailed it to the Court.  If you have any questions concerning your summons or about the adjudication, please visit the Ombudsman Program at the University of New Mexico website linked on the left side bar.

Court Monthly Adjudication Report and Court Documents

Detailed information concerning legal issues or significant water rights before the Court is contained in the Court Monthly Adjudication Report, posted on the LRG Court website during the first week of every month.  The monthly report includes matters pending before the Court, pending filing deadlines, and a list of recently filed documents.  The Court documents listed in the Court monthly report may be viewed or downloaded from the Court website.

Subscribing to the Monthly Report

Any claimant may subscribe to the Monthly Report by filing a written request with a current mailing address and by paying an annual fee of $100.00.  The subscription fee is due June 1st of each year.

For questions about the State website or the Monthly Report, please contact Melody Longwill at 575-528-8370.

Water Rights Adjudication Staff Contact Information

Administrative Assistant:

Phone 575-528-8370

Water Clerks:  

Phone 575-528-8397 or 575-523-8273

Requesting Copies of Court Documents

Copies of court documents may also be obtained directly from the Third District Court by calling the numbers above or by requesting it in writing addressed to:

Third Judicial District Court

Water Clerk

201 W. Picacho Avenue

Las Cruces, NM 88005

The request should include a money order or cashier’s check to cover copying costs, currently set at $.35 per page.  The Court does not accept personal checks.  The request should also include a self-addressed envelope of sufficient size and with sufficient postage for mailing the requested documents back to you.