The New Mexico Supreme Court has overturned a lower court ruling that limited the ability of the state's top water official to manage water rights in times of severe drought.
The case centers on a program that was intended to speed up the determination of industry, agricultural and municipal water entitlements. The Court of Appeals ruled in 2010 that the Office of the State Engineer had overstepped its legal authority by adopting the program.
The Supreme Court overturned that ruling Thursday, saying the state Legislature had delegated authority to the state engineer to put in place the water administration regulations.
The high court also ruled that the regulations are not unconstitutional when it comes to due process, vagueness or the separation of powers, as critics had argued.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.