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Quantifying Agricultural Water Use and Trends in New Mexico

Ongoing climate and water stress have highlighted the need for more resilient water and food systems in New Mexico, requiring a method of accounting for existing water use and trends across the state. To meet this need, CK Blueshift and Culp and Kelly developed a geospatial analysis tool that combines newly available, satellite-derived data quantifying consumptive water use with precipitation and cropland data. This replicable tool can support quantification of annual trends in total agricultural water use state-wide; estimation of total consumptive water use by crop, region, or irrigation district; and evaluation of water savings potential from existing or proposed conservation programs.

In addition to creating the geospatial analysis tool, CK Blueshift produced a technical report and presented results at the OpenET user conference in early 2024.

The team completed this work on behalf of the Thornburg Foundation and actively engaged with stakeholders throughout New Mexico including state agencies, irrigation and conservation districts, pueblos, and environmental NGOs.