Some of the water-related issues raised in recent months by the Lincoln County Commission and the county's Planning Commission might be addressed on the state level.
Two bills involving subdivisions and water were passed in both chambers of the state legislature and are awaiting a decision from Gov. Susana Martinez.
"SB (Senate Bill) 479 is you cannot sell off water rights and then have a subdivision," Lincoln County Planning Director Curt Temple told the Planning Commission.
"In other words, you can't sell off the water rights and then have domestic wells for it?" asked Planning Commission Chair Jennie Dorgan. Temple said that was correct. The activity is sometimes referred as double dipping.
"Which is what a lot of people have done," Temple added. "They'll (Office of the State Engineer) go back and check that to make sure the water rights were not transferred."
The other measure, Senate Bill 480, also called Subdivision Water Permits, would require water rights for new subdivisions, Temple said.
"If it's under two acres (any lot) and 10 or more (lots) I believe is what the criteria is," Temple said.
A synopsis of the Subdivision Water Permits legislation would mandate that a county commission require subdividers provide a copy of a permit from the state engineer to show proof of a service commitment from a water provider and an opinion from the state engineer that the subdivider call fulfill the commitment before a final plat can be approved. A county commission cannot approve a subdivision application based on the use of water through domestic well permits.
"So that would make our ordinance a little redundant," Dorgan said.
"Well not necessarily," Temple replied. "Ours is going to require water rights too."
Dorgan said the county's proposal would be more stringent because it's "the whole enchilada."
Both pieces of state legislation include an emergency clause, meaning if signed by the governor they would take effect immediately.