Santa Fe NM’s water rates are really high

Brett Walton’s annual U.S. municipal water rates survey is out. They show that, as post-World War II infrastructure nears the end of its useful lifespan, the cost of keeping things together is rising: Continuing a trend that reflects the disrepair and shows no sign of slowing, the price of residential water service in 30 major …

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A glimmer of good water supply news for New Mexico’s middle Rio Grande farmers

Despite some hilariously complex argument over the accounting details, there finally is enough water in Elephant Butte Reservoir on the Rio Grande that everybody agrees it’s now legal for the middle Rio Grande’s farm water agency to store some water behind upstream dams to help stretch out this summer’s irrigation season. The runoff forecast is still …

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On the Rio Grande drought, not exactly optimism, but not pessimism either

Michael Wines in Monday’s New York Times: The perils of drought are on ample display along the Rio Grande, where a rising thirst has tested farmers, fueled environmental battles over vanishing fish and pushed a water-rights dispute between Texas and New Mexico to the Supreme Court. But you can also see glimmers of hope. Albuquerque, …

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Preliminary Rio Grande runoff: 55 percent through Central New Mexico

update: The preliminary human-in-the-loop forecast is substantially better than the automated one, at 55 percent. But still terrible. previously: The preliminary Rio Grande forecast for April 1 is just 33 percent of the 1981-2000 average, a dramatic reduction since the March 1 forecast that shows just how abysmally warm and dry the month of March …

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San Juan-Chama forecast: looks like a second year of shortfall

According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, warm February weather meant the earliest runoff in the 40-plus year history of the San Juan-Chama Project, which brings water from southern Colorado to the Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. But “early” does not translate to “a lot of water”. San Juan-Chama Project contractors, the largest of …

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New Mexico water policy: on muddling through

My former newspaper colleague Win Quigley came over to the UNM Water Resources Program offices the other day to talk to Bruce Thomson and I about central New Mexico’s water problems and the virtue (or inevitability) of muddling through: “We know how to do this. Humans are adaptable,” Fleck said. “When people have less water, …

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Tree rings in the Rolling Stone

Would I be right to guess that this is the first time tree rings have been in the Rolling Stone? “It was like looking through a telescope into the future to see how forests would respond, and it felt awful,” Williams says. “The result was totally unimaginable: wildfires, bark beetles, a huge reduction in forest …

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A reminder that stormwater isn’t free water

There is a natural desire in water-short communities to capture and use stormwater. But a brewing feud between the state of New Mexico and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a reminder that tweaking the stormwater management system is not without consequences, because the water you’re capturing would otherwise be going somewhere and doing something. …

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