The Joe M Stell Water Ombudsman Program

Lower Rio Grande Adjudication (LRG)

Ombudsman Program Logo

The Joe M Stell Water Ombudsman Program is a New Mexico state-wide program within the Utton Center at the University of New Mexico School of Law. The Ombudsman Program assists unrepresented water right claimants in navigating the New Mexico adjudication process.

The Lower Rio Grande Adjudication is divided into five areas. As of June 1, 2009:

  • Nutt Hockett contains 43 subfiles and is 99% adjudicated
  • Rincon contains 1213 subfiles and is 85% adjudicated
  • Northern Mesilla contains 5795 subfiles and is 26% adjudicated
  • Southern Mesilla contains 5284 subfiles and is 38% adjudicated
  • Outlying Areas contain 1163 subfiles and is 6% adjudicated

In the Lower Rio Grande adjudication, the Office of the State Engineer completed the joinder of all known and unknown water right claimants in the summer of 2008. The state is currently sending Offer of Judgment and proposed Stipulated Sub-file Order packets to claimants. The Ombudsman Program’s work tracks the mailing of these packets: it mails a post card to each claimant sent a packet; responds to calls to the toll-free help line and calls claimants who have not responded within the 45 day limit set by the Court. The Program contacts claimants who have filed a Form C objection if it appears that their issue could be resolved through discussion with a neutral third party. Finally, the Program provides educational assistance to the Court’s water right mediation program.

Toll Free Help Line: 1-877-277-8740 for Lower Rio Grande Adjudication questions
(press 1 for English; press 2 for Spanish)
Local contact: Stan Bulsterbaum

Ombudsman's direct line: 505-277-0551
Darcy S. Bushnell, Director

For information on the New Mexico adjudication process, click below to view the Ombudsman Program's step-by-step video guide.

Video - The Water Rights Adjudication Process in New Mexico

Para ver el vídeo en español:

  • Haga clic en el lazo de sitio web debajo
  • Seleccione el título en español debajo de la pantalla

Video - El Proceso de Juicio de Derechos de Agua en Nuevo Mexico (Temporalmente fuera de servicio)

The Ombudsman Program does not offer legal advice. Claimants who believe they need legal advice are encouraged to consult with an attorney. The Ombudsman Program is not associated with any court, the federal government or the Office of the State Engineer.