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Know the West

Fish vs. kids? or kids vs. golf carts?

  As an Albuquerque resident of 13 years, I read with interest your story “Truce remains elusive in Rio Grande water fight,” (HCN, 8/4/03: Truce remains elusive in Rio Grande water fight). The story was very good, but one bit of relevant information was not in the story.

ALL of Albuquerque’s drinking water comes from wells. The water in the Rio Grande that’s being litigated will be used to water golf courses and city parks. Therefore, Mayor Marty Chavez’s remark about taking “water from the mouths of the city’s children” is true only if they drink from the park or golf course sprinklers. Or maybe Mayor Marty intends on watering the parks and golf courses with our drinking water if he doesn’t get his way with the Rio Grande water.

The mayor also stated on a local PBS show that “Albuquerque has the strictest water conservation measures in the nation.” That would come as quite a surprise to the people of Denver, Tucson, Phoenix, et al. Albuquerque’s water conservation is essentially voluntary. Currently, each day is marked by a drop. A red drop asks that you don’t water at all because of rain or high winds. A yellow drop asks that you consider refraining from watering should the wind pick up or it start raining. A green drop means you can water all you want to from 6 p.m. to 10 a.m.

Under this system, there were 63 straight days already this summer where you could water under the green drop.

Strict? I think not. One thing is certain. Jim Brooks of New Mexico’s Fishery Resources Office of the Fish and Wildlife Service hit the nail on the head when he said that the real solution is “it just means we need to conserve water.” I wish Mr. Brooks was our mayor.

Randy Lantz
Albuquerque, New Mexico