New Mexico
Environment Department

Contact Information:
(505) 827-2855 MAIN // 1-800-219-6157 (toll free)
Environmental Emergencies:
505-827-9329 (24 hrs)

Drinking Water Bureau

Source Water Protection

A voluntary program providing technical and planning assistance to protect public drinking water supplies

The Source Water Protection Program works with water systems and their stakeholders to help ensure sustainable, clean drinking water for communities.

Our Source Water Protection Team assists with:

  Helping systems identify actual or potential sources of contamination

  Developing contamination management strategies

  Developing or updating Source Water Assessments

  Developing or updating Source Water Protection Plans

  Holding community meetings for Source Water Protection plan development

  Providing outreach about threats to source water and protection actions

  Providing TOOLS for source water protection

Source Water Protection TOOLS:

≈  NMED EnviroMap (formerly Source Water Protection Atlas)

≈  Technical Guidance on Ground Water Under Direct Influence (GWUDI), April 2021

≈  DWB Collaborative Projects – Studies, Reports, Other Tools

To request assistance with source water planning,  contact Program Manager Lena Schlichting;  505-660-3391 or


Preventing contamination is easier and much less expensive than cleaning up a contaminated source or finding a new source.

Contaminant Inventories:

Contaminant Inventories are required for new drinking water sources such as new wells or surface water intakes.

Contaminant Inventories help a community identify contamination risk to drinking water supplies and are an essential aspect of planning for projects that involve developing and connecting to a new source.  These projects require approval from the NMED Drinking Water Bureau – please see “Water System Modification, Design, & Construction” page for more information and guidance.

New and Updated Source Water Assessments:

The Drinking Water Bureau (DWB) developed assessments for all public water systems’ existing sources between 2002 and 2005.  It is recommended these are updated to represent current conditions and any new sources.  For a copy of your system’s 2002 – 2005 Source Water Assessment, contact the Source Water Protection Program.

Source water assessments involve a 4-step process:

  1. Identify areas to be protected
  2. Inventory actual and potential contamination sources
  3. Determine how susceptible drinking water source areas are to contamination
  4. Develop a Source Water Protection Plan to address potential contamination
  •   “Appendix K”  is a complete list of potential contaminants and required to be used in assessing new sources.

Appendix K is referenced in Drinking Water regulations NMAC (2)  and originated in the 2004 NMED “Source Water Assessment & Protection Program Report” templates:  February, 2004 for NM Surface Water systems and July, 2004 for NM Groundwater Systems.


Source Water Protection Plans:

NMED encourages water systems to go beyond a basic Source Water Assessment by developing and implementing a Source Water Protection Plan.  Our team can assist you with the process.

A plan is voluntary but highly encouraged because it benefits a public water system by providing management and implementation strategies to ensure the active security of a drinking water supply.

SWPP plan development involves a 5-step process:

  1. Form a Community Planning Team to develop and implement a Source Water Protection Plan.
  2. Review the Source Water Assessment to identify actual and potential sources of contamination.
  3. Develop a list of methods to prevent contamination of the source water protection areas.
  4. Prepare a Source water Protection Plan that outlines current and future approaches to prevent source water contamination.
  5. Take action to implement the Source Water Protection Plan.

For assistance:
contact the NMED-DWB Source Water Protection Program

Other Source Water Protection Resources:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Source Water Protection website