The Office of the Territorial Irrigation Engineer was created in 1905 and became the Office of the State Engineer in 1907 with jurisdiction over the surface waters of the state. Confirmed by the New Mexico Constitution of 1912 and expanded by legislation, the State Engineer is responsible for water rights administration, hydrographic surveys, water resource investigations, dam safety, dam and ditch rehabilitation, flood mitigation, county subdivision water supply reviews, and issuing well-drilling licenses.
The Interstate Stream Commission was created by the Legislature in 1935 with broad powers to investigate, protect, conserve, and develop New Mexico’s water and stream systems, both intrastate and interstate.
The Office of the State Engineer and the Interstate Stream Commission are separate but companion state agencies. Together they are responsible for the administration, development, conservation, and protection of New Mexico’s water resources, and manage two trust funds created by the U.S. Congress under the Fergusson Act of 1898. Both trusts are LGPF beneficiaries:
The Improvement to the Rio Grande Income Fund: The US Congress granted 100,000 acres of land to the Territory, the income from which is earmarked for the improvement of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, and increasing the surface flow of water in the bed of said river.
The Irrigation Works Construction Fund: The US Congress granted 500,000 acres of land to the Territory, the income from which is credited to the Permanent Reservoirs for Irrigation Purposes Income Fund, one of the 20 LGPF beneficiaries. The Irrigation Works Construction Fund was created in 1955 to hold the expendable distributions from the LGPF.
Both the Irrigation Works Construction Fund and the Improvement to the Rio Grande Income Fund are under the administrative responsibility of the Interstate Stream Commission.
The New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission began reinvesting the unexpended balances in the two trust funds with the State Investment Office in March 1994.