NM water issues to be hammered out at town hall

NM starts 2014 with severe drought

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – State officials, business leaders and others from around New Mexico are gathering for a two-day town hall focused on water use and other policy recommendations for dealing with severe drought.

Sen. Martin Heinrich, state engineer Scott Verhines, tribal leaders and mayors from several New Mexico towns are at the Albuquerque meeting, which runs through Wednesday. Meeting organizer Heather Balas says 31 of 33 counties are represented and interests span from lawmakers, farmers and students to researchers.

Discussions are focused on the state’s aging water infrastructure, conservation and planning for crisis situations.

New Mexico is entering its fourth consecutive year of severe drought.

The state has weathered the drought through piecemeal responses like water-sharing agreements and watering restrictions, but town hall organizers say solutions should be more comprehensive and coordinated.

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