Reservoir levels concern city water managers

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Posted: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 11:50 pm | Updated: 12:28 am, Thu Jun 27, 2013.

Santa Fe’s municipal reservoirs are only about one-third full, and water managers say they may run dry by mid-September as the city begins tapping the stored water this weekend to meet summer demand.

Rick Carpenter, the city’s water resources and conservation manager, said the city will start drawing from the McClure and Nichols reservoirs June 30 or July 1 to help maintain water pressure during periods of peak demand.

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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Paul White posted at 5:17 pm on Sun, Jun 30, 2013.

    Pabloblanco Posts: 45

    The City and County are not interested in having a discussion about a moratorium on development. This should be at the top of the list. The County’s new code is being written, it is time for residents to address the issue of development in the code. The new code allows for even more development in the density map based on “cluster” development, which although a good idea in a different era will not be very helpful with the prolonged drought.
    If we just kick this problem down the road we’ll end up in a dire situation.

    The City water manager said that the San Juan Chama water might be curtailed by up to 50% next year.

    The City and County are allowing more development based on a faulty premise. Which is that surface water will be available. The so called “resting of the Buckman wells” based on the diversion is a misnomer because of just what is happening now. The amount of money that went into the Buckman diversion could have been used to plug the leaks in the City’s water system, thus negating the need for the diversion. City residents rates will have gone up about 60% within the next couple of years because of the cost of the diversion.

    The County is sending water lines in every direction without a contingency plan in place. Development can continue but only by using 100% return flow systems that send grey water and black water back through the system. This would be a way forward without curtailing property rights or increasing the cost of water or raising taxes.

    Is the reason that the City will be pumping be because they released water for a “living river” earlier in the year thus depleting the reservoirs? And/or because the Rio Grande flows are being curtailed? Or because it is just cheaper to pump the aquifer? If the case is that it is because the City release reservoir water then those that supported a “living river” are contributing to the depletion of the aquifer that will affect other living rivers and domestic wells in the area.

    The Rio Grande is drying up below Albuquerque and Elephant Butte Reservoir is at historic lows. What about the “rights of nature,” are they being considered when we divert so much water? Our elected representatives (all of them refused to have any public meetings) approved yet another river diversion recently for the Aamodt Settlement. Even more water will be diverted from the Rio Grande for development in the Tesuque, Pojoaque and Nambe areas. When the water from the river is not available the City, County and Pueblos will be using groundwater to supply water. This groundwater supply will be coming from Rio Grande water that will have been injected into the ground that supposedly will be there due to a dubious system called Aquifer Storage and Recovery Wells. These wells will be injecting water that will be pumped many miles from the Rio Grande using huge electric pumps into a below ground aquifer that is supposed to store the water. If the wells do not store the water, then what?

    It is time for the City and County to stop thinking inside the box. However every attempt I’ve made has fallen on deaf ears.

  • Talia Kosh posted at 11:14 am on Thu, Jun 27, 2013.

    tk Posts: 3

    Agreed-more limitations on development, more limitations on bigger water pulls like golf courses and cemetaries-looking for other synthetic alternatives. This is not sustainable. We have to have a paradigm shift around this issue. The band-aids are only going to get us into trouble. Where's the sustainability in government management of water? Aquifers and wells are running dry. Critical mass is approaching.

  • Pierce Knolls posted at 9:45 am on Thu, Jun 27, 2013.

    Mister Pierce Posts: 1688

    I wonder what they'll restrict next, maybe swamp coolers?

  • paul olshefsky posted at 8:23 am on Thu, Jun 27, 2013.

    Lamy Lineman Posts: 5

    I'm not looking to step on anyones toes, or hurt anyone. Parks and golf courses are for recreation and should be protected. The Veterens Cemetery uses almost a million gallons of water a month. It does look good, but can synthetic grass or astro turff be used? Just saying.

  • Paul White posted at 7:49 am on Thu, Jun 27, 2013.

    Pabloblanco Posts: 45

    This year the City continued to release water for the “living river” the San Juan Chama water will possibly be curtailed and the City continues to pump the aquifer which affect all other rivers to the north and south. When will the City and County consider limitations on development? Why aren’t the supporters of the living river petitioning the City and County to stop growth so that we can “sustainably” achieve a viable aquifer?


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