The Joe M Stell Water Ombudsman Program

Joe M Stell
Joe M Stell

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 is named for retired State Representative Joe M Stell from Carlsbad, NM as a tribute to his years of service to the legislature and his knowledge of New Mexico water issues. For more information about Joe Stell, click here.

The primary mission of the Ombudsman Program is to educate unrepresented (pro se) parties about: 1) why they would want to actively participate in water rights adjudication, and 2) how to participate in an informed and timely fashion. The Ombudsman acts as a third party neutral advisor and can help pro se claimants understand options available to them for responding to pleadings and offers of judgment or consent orders from the state. The Ombudsman does not offer legal advice.

The Program is active in both state and federal water rights adjudications. Since its inception in 2005, the Ombudsman Program has participated in the Lower Rio Grande Adjudication (LRG), the Zuni River Adjudication, the Nambe/Pojoaque & Tesuque Adjudication (Aamodt or NPT), the Gallinas River Section of the Pecos Adjudication (Lewis) and the San Juan River Basin Adjudication. The Program offers the following services:

  • Toll Free Help Lines
    • 1-877-277-8740 for Lower Rio Grande Adjudication questions (press 1 for English; press 2 for Spanish)
    • 1-877-775-8333 Nambe/Pojoaque/Tesuque Adjudication questions
    • 1-866-822-6134 (press 1) for San Juan Adjudication questions
    • 1-866-822-6134 (press 2) for Animas (southern New Mexico) Adjudication questions
  • Rio Gallinas Help Line 1-505-277-0551
  • Outreach Services including telephone outreach and mailings
  • Pre-Mediation and Mediator Training Services
  • Public Meetings/Workshops
  • Instructional Publications
  • Website Information & Instruction
  • Video -- The Ombudsman Program has prepared a step-by-step video guide to the New Mexico adjudication processin English and Spanish. To view the video, click below.

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

The Utton Center publishes Water Matters! each year -- a handbook on water issues for New Mexico legislators. Click on the link below for the article on adjudications:

Adjudications article from Water Matters!

Equivalents and Definitions Table for water terms

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.