Four years of dry weather now and the Southwest stands on the threshold of another year of drought crisis.

Hydrologists say without substantial rainfall, rivers and streams will dry up again this summer, water allocations will drop or stop altogether, most irrigation will cease and communities and industry will struggle again with providing enough water to meet the basic needs of homes and businesses across the state.

Leaders from local, state and federal agencies; representatives from industry, tribal governments and special interest groups; and engineers, hydrologists and concerned citizens gathered recently at an historic two-day "Town Hall"  meeting in Albuquerque where water concerns dominated a meeting designed to better prepare New Mexico for the worsening crisis caused by failing water resources.

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With almost all New Mexico counties represented, Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), New Mexico state engineer Scott Verhines, business and community and tribal leaders, and university and government researchers crowded into the gathering to focus on the very real challenges of water shortages and climate change expected to continue in the years ahead.  

Heinrich called the gathering the first of many steps needed to help leaders of government, community and industry to rise to the challenges of climate change, including meeting the water requirements of New Mexico residents and businesses—strategic facilities, laboratories and research centers like Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia Labs and military facilities like White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman, Canon and Kirtland Air Force Bases.