I have to commend Bill Hume for his op-ed in yesterday’s Albuquerque Journal. (Really, I do have to. He agrees with me!)
Clearly, municipal and state growth planning that includes a hard-nosed recognition of water realities is the only strategy for confronting the offset water tap-out. And, new sources of water or new technologies for stretching the use and reuse of existing supplies are mandatory. The introduction of San Juan-Chama project water is one such new source, but it cannot be easily expanded.
The Water Assembly’s concerns about the sustainability of current water consumption in the Middle Rio Grande are totally valid.
But he’s taking the argument farther than I have in the work I’ve written to date on this. Given the lag between past pumping and future surface water depletions, what happens here in New Mexico when there’s a collision between those ongoing depletions and the surface water rights available to retire via whatever mechanism we’ve got available at that point?
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Do what we do in California — pretend it’s not going to happen. It’s worked great so far! 🙁