My new favorite water policy newspaper headline, courtesy Better Burque, a wizard of old newspaper research down a rabbit hole with me looking at Albuquerque water policy circa 1957.
The psychiatrist, John W. Myers, also operated Sandia Gardens Nursery. New Mexico State Engineer Steve Reynolds was trying to put the brakes on new water well drilling. Myers argued it wasn’t a new well.
The best part of this story? 6700 Edith NE in Albuquerque’s North Valley, where the nursery and well were located is now home to the U.S. Geological Survey team that monitors Albuquerque’s groundwater.
What? That property belonged to a client of ours, John Chapman who ran it as a extended care facility. John Meyers was a doctor and had established a live in sanitorium for mental patients. We sold the water rights off of it. As a tree nursery there are or were a great variety of trees even the only Redwood in the State. That property was the old stagecoach stop for Albuquerque with beautiful ceiling beams.
The old well was a large-diameter hand-dug well with a centrifugal pump. John Meyers did not like government authority. When he disregarded the State Engineer rules to apply for a permit to repair and deepen the well and set about the work. Someone called Jim Williams, then the director of the Albuquerque office of the OSE. Jim called the state police who went out and arrested everyone. It went to court and Reynolds won thereby sending the message that the SEO intended to enforce its regulations.