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Byline: Chris Roberts THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
All life needs water to survive, but there isn't enough to go around in the high desert of New Mexico.
In the coming millennium, barring technological or climatological miracles, there will be a limit on the number of people who can live in the state's thirsty cities and dusty, rural farms and cattle ranches.
Bluegrass lawns may be left to wither when watering guidelines become prohibitions, and more restaurants will wait for patrons to ask for water before serving it.
And water will cost more. The city of Albuquerque already is in the midst of a rate hike that will boost the price about 30 percent over seven years. So just like garden plants that send out roots seeking their share of life-giving water, New Mexicans are staking their claims to the scarce resource mostly in court but also using innovative ways of channeling water from other states.
Rights on the water that flows through New Mexico are mired in a tangle of claims and counterclaims that some experts say will be argued in court for at least 50 years.
The first recorded water claim dates to 1690, when Spanish settlers were putting down roots, said state engineer Tom Turney, the man responsible for overseeing the state's water.
Thousands of claims have been staked since then by farmers, …