New Mexico's top water manager plans to order irrigators, municipalities and industry in a portion of the state to install meters on their underground wells to measure water use.
State Engineer Scott Verhines said he will issue the order for the Fort Sumner Underground Water Basin this month and it will require meters to be installed by January.
No metering will be required for household wells or small wells used to supply water for livestock.
The affected water basin covers portions of DeBaca, Guadalupe, Quay, Chaves, Roosevelt and Torrance counties and includes the communities of Fort Sumner and Vaughn.
Verhines said the metering will allow his office to better manage water in the drought-stricken lower Pecos River, which is affected by underground water supplies.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.