User “A” has some water rights that he or she would like to put to use for economic benefit, but with the current amount available and the current economics of the business in question, it’s just not penciling out. User “B” comes along offering to pay to put the water to an alternative use. What’s not to like?
New Mexico’s prolonged drought has some Eddy County farmers selling off water to the oil and gas industry.
Lack of water over recent years has made agricultural ventures less desirable for individual water rights holders across Southeastern New Mexico, prompting many to instead sell the water to oil and gas companies to be used for hydraulic fracturing.