A statement from State Engineer Scott Verhines regarding the Magdalena wells:
Persistent drought has raised frustration levels and tension in New Mexico and across the western US in general. Consequently, the tendency is to point fingers and try and find someone to blame when situations like what occurred in Magdalena take place. The office of the State Engineer has seen the potential for this coming for some years (20+) and has been working with the Village in an effort to resolve the situation.
Magdalena has approached the State Engineer's office twice since 1992 requesting a permit to drill a supplemental well. However, in 1993 Magdalena voluntarily withdrew the first application after the State Engineer partially approved the application, and in 2010 the second application was returned to Magdalena because they demonstrated no interest to pursue the permit. Each time Magdalena either voluntarily withdrew their application before the permit could be issued, desiring not to subject themselves to the jurisdiction of the state in doing so, or the incomplete application was returned (not rejected) with a request for needed information to support the permit.
In the interest of "solving not fighting", the mantra of this administration, the OSE stands ready to expedite what is now an emergency permit for Magdalena to get their water supply back up and running. Our staff, including our top hydrologists, is available to offer support and expertise. We understand that Magdalena officials may be meeting with OSE staff as early as today to get the ball rolling.