N.M. Lawmakers hear about effort to update water plans

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico's top water official says updating the state and regional water plans is critical.

State Engineer Scott Verhines testified Tuesday before the Senate Conservation Committee. He alluded to the persistent drought, noting that the water plans will help officials set priorities for addressing needs around the state.

As chairman of the Water Trust Board, Verhines says the panel this year received about 120 applications totaling more than $140 million in requests for water project funding. The board has only $35 million available.

Gov. Susana Martinez also wants to spend 60 percent of capital outlay funds on water infrastructure this year, but no specific projects have been identified.

Verhines says the plan is to have all 16 regional water plans and the state plan completed within the next two years.

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