Overview of Water Easements and Salt Water Disposal Easements
Should you wish to drill a well or dispose of salt water on State Trust Land you will need to submit an application, pay the relevant fees and obtain an approved easement with the State Land Office before conducting such activities. The type of easement you need to obtain depends on the stage of development and type of activity you intend to conduct. CLICK HERE to review the procedures for placing and maintaining a water well on State Trust Lands. CLICK HERE to review the procedures for conducting Salt Water Disposal on State Trust Lands.
Water Easements and Salt Water Disposal Easements are now being managed by the Oil, Gas and Minerals Division within the State Land Office. All inquiries regarding these easements should be directed to Faith Crosby at (505) 827-5849 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are four types of water wells: 1) exploratory, 2) production, 3) monitoring, and 4) commercial. An exploratory well determines where water is available and may be converted to a production well. A monitoring well produces no water and is usually required of the oil and gas companies by the Oil Conservation Division. A production well produces water only for the benefit of the easement holder and may turn into a commercial well if the easement holder no longer needs the water but others continue to need it. A commercial well produces water for sale to persons other than the easement holder. A water easement consists of the lease of a small parcel of land for the location of a water well.
The use of water on State Trust Lands is allowed by means of an Easement. There are five types of water easements: 1) “WE” for an exploratory permit, 2) “W0” for a production well, 3) “WM” for a monitoring well, 4) “WR” for a commercial well, and 5) Temporary for a one-time 90-day sale of water. A Water Rights Agreement (the right to place a well on State Trust Lands and agree that the ownership of the water rights belongs with the NM Commissioner of Public Lands) is required for all well easements where water rights are not moved from other or onto Trust Lands.
Water Exploration Permit: Applicant does not know where they want to place the well; therefore, only a permit to drill exploratory wells is needed. If the applicant does know where they want the well, then they will start with an Application for Water Easement.
A 90 day renewal letter is sent when an easement is coming up for renewal. Water related issues are handled by the Office of the State Engineer, Water Rights Division: (505) 827-5789.
See forms here.
Salt Water Disposal Easements
Salt water easements are issued for up to 2.50 acres for up to 5 years with a preference right of renewal. There is a $250.00 non-refundable easement application fee.
Easements are required for all SWD wells placed on State Trust Lands including;
- Commercial or Non-Commercial wells that are off the customer’s oil and gas lease acreage.
- Wells taking produced water from other O&G leases. The easement may be either commercial or non-commercial.
- Wells that will be in operation to service commercial customers by accepting produced water for a fee.
The annual rent for a non-commercial easement is $3,000.00 per year per well.
The annual rent for a commercial easement is $10,000.00 per year per well.
Bonds New applicants and existing easement holders must be bonded for both surface damage and performance.
Performance and Damage Bond types include:
- $25,000.00 multi-easement Megabond
- $10,000.00 Single Easement Surety
- $10,000.00 Cash Bond
- Each well must have an additional $100,000.00 Reclamation Bond filed with and accepted by the NM Commissioner of Public Lands.