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New Mexico Change in Ownership of Water Right (19-NM-i)

Most of the waters in New Mexico are fully appropriated. As a result, to procure water rights, generally a developer will need to negotiate the purchase of an existing water right and apply for a change of ownership through the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer (NMOSE). This process leaves the purpose of use, place of use, and point of diversion of a water right unchanged following the transfer. NMAC

Change in Ownership of Water Right Process

19-NM-i.1 – Application for Change of Ownership of Water Right and Associated Documents

The developer must complete the Change of Ownership of Water Right. The developer must file three copies of the application along with the necessary filing fee. The developer must include with the application form a warranty deed or other instrument of conveyance that has been properly recorded with the county clerk’s office. NMOSE will not accept a change of ownership form that is not accompanied by a recorded instrument of conveyance. Acceptable instruments of conveyance include:

  • Warranty deeds;
  • Special warranty deeds;
  • Quitclaim deeds;
  • Personal representative’s deeds;
  • Special master’s deeds; and
  • Tax deeds. NMAC

19-NM-i.2 to 19-NM-i.3 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

The NMOSE will review the application materials to ensure that the developer has included all necessary documentation. The NMOSE will only substantively review complete applications.

19-NM-i.4 – Accept Change of Ownership for Filing

Upon receipt of a complete Change of Ownership of Water Right, the NMOSE will accept the change of ownership for filing purposes and notify the developer of acceptance. Acceptance does not constitute approval by the State Engineer of either the validity of the conveyance or the validity of the right conveyed.

19-NM-i.5 – Record Change of Ownership with County Clerk

The developer must record the change of ownership in the county clerk’s office.

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