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Water Scarcity

Protecting New Mexico’s Centuries-Old Water Democracy

How do we mediate our relationship with water? Those in areas with unquestioned and sufficient supply may have issues with affordability and cleanliness. But in dryer parts of the country — and the world — more fundamental challenges with the allocation of scarce water are coming increasingly to the fore. In New Mexico, the reality of scarcity pits an Indigenous perspective of water as part of the commons against a Western worldview that is centered in a system of individual property rights. These two perspectives are colliding with ever greater intensity and higher stakes. On the one side there is a deep history of traditional water systems, bringing wide support from the Indigenous community, local food and water supporters, and religious and environmental groups.
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