The Rios Grande is experiencing the same problems of overuse that other major rivers have experienced. In 1997, the Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly was formed as a non-profit, all-volunteer, grass roots organization, formed to develop a regional water plan.
On August 17, 2004, the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission unanimously accepted the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan. According to the plan, during the last twenty five years the region has consumed an average of 15% more water than it received. The resulting deficit has been made up by the mining of aquifers in the region, and a lowering of the water table by 160 feet in some places.
Population increase has placed additional stress on the resource, even though much of this has occurred during the wettest quarter century in the past 2000 years. Now, the climate appears to be returning to normal, and the population faces serious challenges in implementing a sustainable water plan.