From the morning paper, the story of Lake Arthur, the pond in the middle of Estancia, a rural New Mexico town that won’t give up on its public water:
The natural flow in the spring feeding Lake Arthur stopped long ago, said 51-year-old Daniel Chavez, Estancia public works director and proud native son.
By the fire station, up a low hill from Lake Arthur, Chavez pointed to the big metal lid over the first well, drilled 170 feet down to pump water up to the spring once it stopped flowing on its own.
When that well failed, they drilled another back in 2004. Just to be safe, they ran it down 400 feet into the groundwater that is the lifeblood of the Estancia Basin. And where the spring once flowed on its own, they now pump 50 gallons a minute, up to a fountain, then down through a little artificial stream to lovely Lake Arthur.
Where the stream enters the lake, Chavez and his colleagues built a lovely little bridge, already a popular spot for weddings.
The tale of Lake Arthur is a story you hear a lot out in the Estancia Basin — where springs once flowed, now we pump. And in most places, the water table keeps dropping.