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Water Sources

Where Does Our Water Come From?

Las Cruces Utilities plans 40 years in advance, continuing to develop and maintain a sustainable water supply through a proactive conservation program using water from three possible sources.

Mesilla Basin

The Mesilla Basin (or Bolson) covers more than 1,100 square miles. Water levels in the basin range from 10 feet below ground level (near the Rio Grande) to a depth of approximately 300 feet in the western and east central part of the basin. Groundwater flow in the basin is generally to the southeast, parallel to the Rio Grande. Groundwater recharge in the Mesilla Basin occurs along arroyos during precipitation events and from the Rio Grande and associated irrigation canals.

Jornada del Muerto

The Jornada del Muerto is located between the San Andres Mountains to the east and Caballo, San Diego, and Dona Ana Mountains, and the Mesilla Basin to the west. Water levels in the basin range from 50 to over 500 feet below ground level. Groundwater flow in the basin is generally to the west to southwest towards the Rio Grande Valley. Groundwater recharge in the Jornada del Muerto occurs from mountain front recharge, subsurface groundwater flow, and from geothermal upwellings.

Rio Grande

To accommodate future growth, Las Cruces Utilities stresses conservation and is acquiring surface water rights through leasing and purchasing agricultural water for municipal use. The long-range water plan calls for construction of a surface water treatment plant to extend the availability of water.


Las Cruces Utilities is a permitted water system allowed only a limited amount of water from the two aquifers. That's why it's so important to save water. Every community is faced with planning for future water use... and conservation is a critical part of our water plan now and in the future. It is vital that we do everything we can to decrease our water consumption. Las Cruces Utilities encourages plumbing fixture retrofits, water saving landscapes, and improved habits to decrease our everyday water use.