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Appeals Court Upholds N.M. Domestic Well Law

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Ruling overturns 2008 decision by a state district judge in Silver City

The state Court of Appeals in Santa Fe has ruled that New Mexico’s domestic well law is constitutional.

The court’s unanimous decision on Friday overturned a 2008 ruling by a state district judge in Silver City.

Under New Mexico law, the state engineer must grant permits for new domestic use wells and can’t reject a permit because of concerns how the well might affect the water rights of other users.

The district judge had ruled that the state engineer must treat domestic well applications the same as other types of water rights applications, which are subject to protests and reviews.

The Appeals Court said the domestic well law does not violate the state’s doctrine of giving priority to senior water rights.

 

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