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N.M. water official heads speaker list

New Mexico's top water official will address the mounting importance of resource management at a special New Mexico State University lecture series April 5 at the Hilton Las Cruces.

State Engineer John D'Antonio, along with Interstate Stream Commission Director Estevan Lopez, will provide a drought overview.

“Unfortunately, based on the most recent snowmelt runoff estimates, it appears the drought will continue in most areas of the state,” D'Antonio said. “The runoff is going to be much better than it has been the last couple of years, but we've still got a big shortfall to make up in terms of our reservoirs.”

D'Antonio and Lopez will speak at 9 a.m. in the Hilton's Guadalupe room. The free, public seminar is part of a water lecture series from NMSU's Water Task Force, Water Resources Research Institute and civil and geological engineering department.

“We're happy that the state engineer is participating in our lecture series, since he's charged with administering the state's water resources,” said Task Force Coordinator Craig Runyan. “He has power over the supervision, measurement, appropriation and distribution of all surface and groundwater in New Mexico, including streams and rivers that cross state boundaries.”

Lopez will discuss implementation of New Mexico's first water plan, which was completed in December after 29 public meetings statewide. “Now the work begins,” he said. “We hope to make progress on effective management of water during times of drought, installing measuring and metering devices on state streams, and making progress on settling Native American water rights cases.”

D'Antonio was appointed as state engineer by Gov. Bill Richardson in January 2003. A registered professional engineer in New Mexico and Colorado, he is an expert in hydraulic design, acequia rehabilitation and water resource management. D'Antonio previously worked for 15 years as a hydraulic design engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of New Mexico.

Lopez, a registered professional engineer, previously worked as Santa Fe County manager. He received a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology.

For more information, or if you are an individual with a disability who is in need of an auxiliary aid or service to participate in the meeting, please contact Leeann DeMouche at (505) 646-3973.

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