It’s complicated. That’s what I realized this morning as I engaged in the now-nearly-mandatory journalistic self-promotion exercise – tweeting my work.
On one of the local water mailing lists, I was recently taken to task for feeding drought paranoia rather than pulling together comprehensive analyses. It’s a fair cop. I’ll try to keep it in mind as I run around with my hair on fire, that helping explain the policy tools needed for putting out hair fires is a part of my job.
So here’s a start: allowing junior groundwater pumping to deplete the rights of senior surface water users in a way that can’t be remedied in real time is one of New Mexico’s central water management problems. Also, birds!
Shore birds stand in wet farm fields pecking for bugs in this stretch of the Pecos River Valley and the crops are beginning to green up. Defying drought by pumping groundwater, the center-pivot irrigation systems in the Pecos Valley Artesian Conservancy District are rolling, spraying water on alfalfa and wheat.
Forty miles downstream, the irrigation canals that normally supply Pecos River water to the farmers of the Carlsbad Irrigation District are dry.
Facing another year of shortfall, the Carlsbad farmers are looking angrily at the groundwater pumping by their upstream neighbors.
Too long to tweet.