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Old 02-04-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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The recent study on global warming has come out with findings relevant to possible drought in NM. It says that while above average rainfall will occur in the NW Pacific area and also New England, the SW portion of the USA will suffer reduced rainfall over time. This means a period of drought for the SW.

I would think that NM is especially vulnerable with most if not all of its water coming from aquifiers. These are currently being depleted. As population grows without sufficient rainfall, it would seem things can only get worse.

Or is this analysis flawed?

Jim
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Old 02-04-2007, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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I am not expert but I'd say the SW is already is serious trouble regarding water. Not only are we water scarce but water rights are often in dispute.

With the recent snows, I had put the droughts out of my mind, but come Spring, it will be at the top of the list of priorities.

If global warming decreases the flow of water, this could be more than the desert it is, and the increase in population has seriously exacerbated the situation here in the North.

I know we are already trying to determine how much the town, the county, the Pueblo, and our neighbours to the North, will parse out and what will be available collectively and individually.
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Old 02-04-2007, 09:08 PM
TKO
 
Location: On the Border
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
I am not expert but I'd say the SW is already is serious trouble regarding water. Not only are we water scarce but water rights are often in dispute.
We seem to be at the end of a 8 year drought. They have always been somewhat cyclical. The last two winters have been good and that's what replenishes the aquifers. I've seen the resevoirs go up and down in my time here.

The dispute you speak of is the currently ongoing adjudication of water rights. Unlike many states we have never had official adjudication until now. It's an expensive and lengthy process but at least we've started. As for serious trouble, some parts of the state (ironically Santa Fe, which doesn't depend on aquifers) may be, but Las Cruces is in relatively good shape. You would expect that with the increased development that wouldn't be true, but many of the developments or on farm land so it's just going from one use the another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
With the recent snows, I had put the droughts out of my mind, but come Spring, it will be at the top of the list of priorities.
It's going to be wet spring too, because of El Nino. *crosses fingers*

Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
If global warming decreases the flow of water, this could be more than the desert it is, and the increase in population has seriously exacerbated the situation here in the North.

I know we are already trying to determine how much the town, the county, the Pueblo, and our neighbours to the North, will parse out and what will be available collectively and individually.
From what I've gathered in school and through limited research is that global warmer, while causing the planet wide rise in average temp, affects places differently. I've read that, with changes in ocean temperature, the desert southwest will in fact see more precipitation.
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Old 02-04-2007, 09:11 PM
 
Location: Journey's End
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TKO, I hope your more informed and optimistic response is accurate.
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Old 02-05-2007, 07:03 AM
TKO
 
Location: On the Border
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Needess to say, so do I.

But conjecture aside, for the short term things are looking up. This has been the wettest winter I've seen since 86/87.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Maine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ontheroad View Post
I am not expert but I'd say the SW is already is serious trouble regarding water.
Yup.

I grew up in eastern NM on the high plains, where most of the water comes from the aquefer. It is drying up. Years of drought haven't helped, but what is killing it is irrigation. That part of the world is trying to support millions of acres of farms and dairies in an environment that just doesn't suit it. Especially the dairies. It just makes no sense to operate hundreds of dairies in a sem-arid environment.

My grandparents tell stories of how green the land there used to be. In fact, there used to be a river between Portales and Clovis! That's why the highway does that odd curve between the two towns. The road had to go that way in order to get to the shallow place to cross the river. There hasn't been a river there for 50 years or more.
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Old 02-05-2007, 10:15 AM
 
Location: Journey's End
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Yes, water could become the oil of the future if we aren't more precious with it.

The Rio is so low it sometimes is frightening.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:44 PM
 
Location: Tejas
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I was at an ACI conference in Santa Fe and they spoke alot about, water rights, drought etc. Precipitation levels.

He did mention that NM water has been pretty steady the last few years. We did have drought months where we were below or avg precipitation, but some months were above avg, and it all levelled out. Its still very worrysome though
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Old 02-05-2007, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Abu Al-Qurq
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I believe out of all the environmental catastrophes that are facing us, water is the least of our worries.

Suggest for the sake of argument that the aquifer and water table run out in the coming years. It's merely a case of diverting water from elsewhere. Albuquerque's going to be getting some water from the San Juan river about 200 miles away (on the other side of the continental divide). Some communities in California get their water from up to 1000 miles away.

All that can happen is that water will become more expensive. More expensive, less water usage, and more projects to bring the water in from elsewhere (eventually desalination).

Yes, it's better to conserve, but with all these industries, homes, and construction projects, increasing water usage is inevitable, and won't cause mass extinctions or loss of life. Now if we could just wean ourselves off carbon-based energy..
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Old 02-06-2007, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Tejas
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Quote:
It's merely a case of diverting water from elsewhere.
Im not sure its as smimple as diverting it from elsewhere. Its going to cost alot of money to divert water from anywhere. New Mexico is behind most states when it comes to water rights etc, and fixing it isnt going to happen overnight.

For me, very high water rates is just as bad as drought. Many people dont come to New Mexico because of drought, and if we have very high water rates, the same will continue.
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