New Mexico State University gets grant to map water rights

New Mexico

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State University is working to digitize the state’s water rights database and develop maps that will help with management of limited groundwater and surface water resources.

The work is being funded with a grant from the Office of the State Engineer. The project is expected to be done later this year.

“Proper management of water resources in New Mexico is very important to the state’s economy and the quality of life of the people that live in the state,” said associate geography professor Christopher Brown.

Some of the maps currently being used by the state engineer’s office are 100 years old and all are in paper format.

Brown said the work involves transferring digital scans of the paper survey maps from the state agency to the university and using geo-referencing tools to ensure the images are located in the proper space. The resulting maps are then reviewed by the agency before being joined in a seamless layer of data.

Creating a geo-referenced and digital library will help the state better archive and protect water rights documentation and help with the allocation of water rights in the future, officials said.

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