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New Mexico governor appoints new top water official

February 2, 2022 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday appointed her recently named water adviser to now serve as the state engineer.

As New Mexico’s top water official, Mike Hamman will overseeing water rights and will serve as secretary of the Interstate Stream Commission, which manages interstate water compacts and long-term water planning.

Hamman will replace John D’Antonio, who stepped down in December after citing a persistent lack of financial support to protect the state’s water resources.

Hamman told lawmakers during a legislative hearing this week that one priority will be completing the governor’s 50-year water plan as the state aims to be better prepared for a more arid future. He also warned lawmakers last week that New Mexico needs readily available tools so it can accommodate years with particularly slim supplies.

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The governor in a statement issued Wednesday described Hamman as a consummate expert in his field.

Before taking on the advisory role in the governor’s office, Hamman was the chief engineer and chief executive officer for the irrigation district that covers tens of thousands of acres along the Rio Grande in central New Mexico. He also worked for nearly two decades at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, ending his tenure there as a regional manager.