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Water Quality

One of the ten greatest public health achievements of the 20th century was the treatment of drinking water, including disinfection. This resulted in a dramatic decrease in diseases such as typhoid and cholera. Most New Mexicans have access to drinking water that meets standards under the national Safe Drinking Water Act.

Sources of Drinking Water in New Mexico

New Mexicans access drinking water in three primary ways: from community water systems, private wells or a water hauling system.
  • The majority of New Mexicans get their drinking water from community water systems, for which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sets monitoring and treating regulations for a variety of microorganisms and chemicals. (
  • About 20 percent of the population in New Mexico (or an estimated 400,000 people) receive their water from a private well. The water quality of a private well is unregulated in the state of New Mexico and well owners are the best protection of their water supply;
  • Some New Mexicans haul their water. The New Mexico Environment Department regulates water supplied for hauling if the water is intended for drinking by 25 or more people or 15 or more household connections.

How can things get into drinking water?

Drinking water quality can be influenced by:
  • Natural sources, like bedrock.
  • Man-made sources, like chemicals, agricultural run-off, or plumbing fixtures.

We call these constituents. Common constituents in groundwater in New Mexico may include: arsenic, uranium, manganese, selenium, nitrates, fluoride, sulfate, and bacteria. When there is an absence of groundwater recharge, such as due to drought or large water draws, the concentration of these constituents could increase. This is why it is important to test the drinking water. Water from community water systems and water suppliers is tested periodically. People who rely on water from private wells should test their drinking water.
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Content updated: Thu, 4 Jun 2020 16:26:02 MDT