Two rural water systems in Sandoval County say the crop may be depleting local water supplies, and they say they have been left powerless to stop it, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
The Peña Blanca Water and Sanitation District and Sile Mutual Domestic Water and Sewer Association sent a letter last month to state agencies and legislators describing their concerns over their disappearing water resources.
The water system representatives say New Mexico’s patchwork of medical marijuana regulations has not kept up with the increased strain on rural water supplies.
“The (cannabis) companies may think that the water rights were already taken care of when they purchased the property,” Peña Blanca district president John Gurule said. “We see the potential for these farms to bring economic growth to a rural community, so how do we support that growth while bringing water to our residents?”
The groups are asking that all producers applying for a medical cannabis license prove a valid water right for commercial agriculture with the Office of the State Engineer.
The Sile water system serves