University of New Mexico Water Resources Program

Valles Caldera UNM Water Resources Program field camp


The science and policy of water

Based at the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque, the UNM Water Resources Program is a regionally prominent center of expertise on water-related issues and training for environmental professionals, promoting fair, healthy and sustainable solutions to the challenges of water use in New Mexico and the southwest. Drawing from faculty across the university campus, the interdisciplinary program gives students a chance to explore a rich diversity of academic topics related to water, to further their careers and in the process improve the management of water in the arid West.

The program is headed by Scott Verhines, a New Mexico native who has worked as a water professional for his entire career, including serving from 2011-2014 as New Mexico State Engineer, the state's top water management job.


Managing Climate Change Risk on the Colorado River

To take the impact of climate change on the Colorado River seriously requires embracing and incorporating serious river flow reductions into the modeling used to support management decisions over the next five years, WRP Director John Fleck and Brad Udall of Colorado State University argue in an editorial in the May 28 issue of Science magazine:

It is tempting to use today's 20% flow decline as the new baseline—that is, modeling future reductions on the basis of what has already been observed. But only by planning for even greater declines can we manage the real economic, social, and environmental risks of running low on a critical resource upon which 40 million North Americans depend.