Recently the Roswell Daily Record carried (an Associated Press) story on the front page about a congressional delegation who are looking for ways to combat water scarcity in New Mexico. And some of our leaders, including Sen. Tom Udall, have introduced the Western Water Security Act of 2019, to help conserve our dwindling water supply.
Sen. Udall stated, “Make no mistake about it: we are in the midst of a water crisis in the West. Communities in New Mexico and across the country depend on fragile water ecosystems that are struggling to adapt to the wild swings in weather caused by climate change.”
Finally, some real action to ensure our drinking water supply for future generations. But wait …
On Nov. 7, in the public notices section of the RDR, there are two applications to drill new water wells. If granted, these wells combined will take 993.6 acre feet (323.8 million gallons) of water from our aquifer. (I’m assuming this more than a quarter-billion gallons will be pumped out annually rather than just once.)
One of the oddities of this application is that on the same page there is a legal notice for a public meeting of the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District, who, a few years back, imposed a 2 mill levy on our property taxes to help them conserve our water, as their title implies.
If we use an analogy and imagine that New Mexico is a leaking boat, to stop the boat sinking you fix the leak, you don’t start drilling new holes in the boat.
So if we truly want our water preserved for future generations, a good start would be to stop issuing permits to drill new non-residential wells. This would stop the boat leaking more, and we can then start addressing the problem of water wastage.