Business of Water Takes Off in Dry State

Albuquerque Business Journal • By Ryan Boetel

Despite the governor’s water action plan failing to get funded by the Legislature, businesses leaders said they still plan to pour massive amounts of capital into the business of water in New Mexico, one of the driest state’s in the West.

Some of those projects include a desalination project northwest of Albuquerque where there are plans to treat brackish water that is stored deep underground in an aquifer. In southeast New Mexico, a company is planning to spend tens of millions of dollars in the coming years to greatly expand a network of pipes and storage facilities where water used during oil and gas extraction will be treated and sold back to an operator.

Those are two projects in an industry in which New Mexico is at the forefront, said Michael Dyson, the CEO of Texas-based Infinity Water Solutions, which is planning the water-infrastructure project in southeast New Mexico.

“The commitment that New Mexico is making to rethinking water, … it kind of checked all our boxes and is a tremendous opportunity,” he said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham last month announced a water action plan to try to safeguard water as a resource. The plan included creating a strategic water supply. As part of that supply, the state was going to commit to purchase treated water from selected projects to shore up billions of gallons of water.

The state could then use or sell the auxiliary water for a range of specified purposes, such as refilling a freshwater aquifer with desalinated brackish water or use treated wastewater to develop and store renewable energy.

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