Archive for Water Resources

Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee Meeting

The Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee will hold its regular meeting at the Administrative Offices of Torrance County in the Commission Chambers at 205 9th Street in Estancia on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

Annual Permaculture Gathering At La Resolana In Edgewood – Saturday, October 5

Editor’s Note: The Annual Permaculture Gathering is a personal favorite of ours, and we strongly recommend it.  There will be plenty to learn, and the potluck always provides a delightful assortment of creative dishes.

by Christian Meuli

12:00 PM         Site Tour
2:00 PM          Potluck
3:00 PM          “Trees are Killing our Forests” — George Duda
4:00 PM          One Minute Announcements
4:05 PM          “I Started with Nothing but a Dream” — Roger Alink

George retired from the New Mexico State Forestry where he served as our Urban Forester. He continues to actively volunteer throughout New Mexico and will join us on the site tour at noon to identify the differences between drought stress and disease in pinon and juniper trees. He will present his video “Trees Are Killing Our Forests!” before entertaining questions.

Roger is Founder and Director of Wildlife West Nature Park, an un-releasable native animal zoo in Edgewood. He taught for ten years at my alma mater, Valley HS, before beginning WLW in 1992 “because I didn’t know any better.” He is a passionate teacher of young adults and a long-practicing rainwater harvester. WLW also holds a number of musical and other community events.

This free permaculture gathering will include a site tour of evolving passive rainwater harvesting practices (including culverts) and George will show us how he reads the effects of drought on trees while identifying pests and diseases.

Please bring friends and children, your favorite dish to share and your finest sunhat. Please car pool and leave pets at home.

Take I-40 to Exit #187 (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with H #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left and Walgreens’s on your right). Go straight through the intersection, up the hill on Edgewood

H #7 and turn right in ½ mile onto Moriarty Road (now paved!). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead down the hill and park on your left.

I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new people! If you need a map or a timely update, please call me at (505) 281-4871.

Christian Meuli

Public Service Announcement: Public Presentation with Brad Lancaster: Rainwater Harvesting

Provided by Christian Meuli

Event: Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance
Date: Friday, June 7
Time: 6 – 8 pm
Place:  George Pearl Hall, UNM School of Architecture and Planning, Central Ave. NE and UNM Cornell Mall, Albuquerque
Sponsors:ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program

Brad Lancaster will present his work on Rainwater Harvesting on Friday, June 7, in George Pearl Hall on the UNM campus at 6 pm, at no cost to the public. The presentation, Turning Water Scarcity Into Water Abundance, will be followed by a book-signing party for Lancaster’s Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond.Event sponsors include ErdaGardens and LearningCenter, Kalyx Studio, Querencia Green, and UNM Sustainability Studies Program. Refreshments will be provided by La Montanita Coop during the book-signing session.

Brad Lancaster is a permaculture teacher, designer, consultant, the author of the award-winning booksRainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond,” Volumes 1 and 2, and co-founder of Desert Harvesters. Brad harvests an average of 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year from his property near downtown Tucson, Arizona, where rainfall is twelve inches on average annually. Brad and his brother Rodd have created an oasis in the desert by incorporating rainwater into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape that includes habitat for wildlife.

Brad has inspired thousands of citizens and numerous businesses in Tucson and across the nation to harvest water and sustainably grow local resources. Joanne McEntire of Querencia Green, a community organization, observes that “Rainwater harvesting from rooftops is encouraged in Tucson, along with stormwater capture from paved areas. In Albuquerque our annual average precipitation is less than ten inches. As we acknowledge long-term drought and fluctuating rainstorm patterns, we’ve begun to practice water harvesting. As more neighbors capture rainwater to support gardens, trees and wildlife, more benefits would result.”

On Sunday, June 9, Brad Lancaster will lead a hands-on workshop at KalyxStudioLearningCenter in BernalilloCounty’s SouthValley. Participants will learn and practice earthwork techniques used in water harvesting systems. The workshop will focus specifically on earthworks that can be implemented to improve the efficiency of acequia irrigation for the home garden. Workshop organizer Leslie Buerk comments: “Although we will be constructing a system that combines traditional desert gardening practices with water harvesting techniques as applied to acequia irrigation, all of the techniques relate directly to working with rainwater and greywater systems.” Additional information is available by e-mail directed to

Grow Your Own – Son Of The Return Of Bed 5

by John Weckerle

Return of the Son of Bed 5.

Return of the Son of Bed 5.

Growing season is upon us once again!  Those who have been following New Mexico Central’s experimental gardening exploits have watched as we moved from four foot-square raised beds to the 12 x 24 foot extravaganza that is Bed 5, including its rise, fall, rise, and so on.  Initially intended to provide a good rooting depth (24 to 30 inches through most of it) and protection from the elements and the herbivores (except, of course, us), the bed has served us well but needed improvement.   Recent developments include replacement of the rabbit fencing and bird netting with poultry fencing, which is more durable than the bird netting.  The latter simply did not stand up well to our local wind.  The “hill and trough” configuration watered with soaker hose has been replaced with raised beds watered by drip irrigation, which should greatly reduce the water needed to produce the produce, as it were.  We appear to have substantially more growing area, as well.   Currently in the ground are tomatoes (Roma, Brandywine, Mortgage Lifter, Black Krim, and Black Cherry), Brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, chard, bell peppers (green, gold, and orange), chiles (Chimayo and New Mexico 6), zucchini, and yellow squash.  Still to be planted are cauliflower, eggplant, tomatillos, dill, and basil.

A word about drip irrigation and the installation thereof.  At some point in the distant past, your editor became somehow convinced that this was a very difficult and complicated thing.  It is not; installing drip irrigation is about as uncomplicated as it gets.  Bed 5 was the first foray into this arena, and we have since installed a total of 500 feet of supply line and a multitude of emitters.  This ends the tedious hand-watering of trees and shrubs that were looking much worse for the wear, but are now looking much better.  Of course, the wildlife have noticed this, and some of our trees and shrubs are now looking a little chewed up by deer that have jumped the fence.

Public Service Announcement: Estancia Basin Resource Association Annual Meeting Tomorrow

The Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA) will hold its annual membership meeting Saturday, January 15th, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Moriarty Civic Center.  Refreshments will be provided, and door prizes will be available.  The schedule includes:

  • Chuck DuMars will speak on the subject of Water law concerning junior Water rights, irrigation wells, and domestic wells.
  • David Lightfoot will give a presentation on monitoring taking place in the Manzano foothills.
  • Find out about the results of the fires and thinning in the watershed.
  • Election of new directors.

For more information, contact Art Swenka at 384-0176, Ted Barela at 705-5049,  or Jace Alderson at 269-2658.


by Senior Permaculture Correspondent Wilson

Photo - Sponge Pit for Tree

Senior Permaculture Correspondent Wilson, dressed for work, showcases his sponge pit, organic material to be deposited therein, and proper tool stacking.

Well, the Pack Leader went off last Saturday and came back with some pretty unusual ideas.  He, the Boss Lady, and Grandma took off the next morning, and came back with a new turning fork and mattock (yes, I know what that is – it’s a pick with a blade on one side.  I may be a dog, but look who I live with).  The Pack Leader pointed out that the handle on the mattock was plastic, and said that somebody named Dr. Meuli suggested that would be better because there might be less bounce-back and potentially less risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.  Not having thumbs, I don’t worry much about that last bit, but the Surprise Ball In The Face Incident of 2010 sure makes me appreciate the former.

»» Spongeitude

Edgewood Permaculture Gathering Teaches Harmonious Living And Land Management

by John Weckerle

Christian Meuli explains his rainwater catchment and cistern systems.

Dr. Christian Meuli explains his rainwater catchment and cistern systems.

Saturday brought a unique event to Edgewood: the 15th annual Permaculture Gathering at La Resolana.  Variously translated as “sun’s glare,” “sunspot,” “sun catcher,” and “sunny place,” La Resolana is a 15-acre parcel that is home to Edgewood’s Dr. Christian Meuli, physician and long-time permaculture expert.  In addition to lecturing both locally and elsewhere for years, he has been putting permaculture to the test at La Resolana for more than three decades.  With luck, we can hope he will still be doing so three decades hence.

Permaculture is a means of land management that incorporates and utilizes the natural characteristics of a given location, taking into account site hydrology, topography, soils, climate, regional ecology, and a myriad other factors that contribute to the “identity” of the place in question.  From water harvesting to the understanding and development of living systems, the tenets and techniques that are essential to permaculture practice can be used for beautification, harmonious living, and even agricultural productivity.

The Permaculture Gathering was set to begin at noon, and by 12:03 many of us were already parking on the road on which Dr. Meuli’s residence is located.  A short stroll down the driveway led to a large, metal barn, at the door of which visitors were offered a »» Edgewood Permaculture Gathering Teaches Harmonious Living And Land Management

Public Service Announcement: Free Annual Permaculture Gathering At La Resolana In Edgewood Next Saturday

by Christian Meuli

Saturday, October 2, 2010

12:00 PM    Site Tour
2:00 PM        Potluck
3:30 PM        Bruce Noll — Keeping within the Poetry of Nature

This free permaculture gathering will include a site tour of rainwater cisterns, gravity as a resource, woodchip berms, swales, sponges, and tools I find useful.

La Resolana is the new name of this place in Edgewood. La Resolana is a place on the south side that harvests the sun and is shielded from the wind: a fertile place for dynamic sharing, creative thinking, and dialogue for what is possible.

Please bring interested friends and children, a favorite dish that you will enjoy sharing with others, and your finest sun hat! Please car pool and leave pets at home.

Bruce Noll will recite his favorite poets, including Walt Whitman, and his own wonderful nature poetry. He will share poetry that inspires insight within nature and within ourselves.

Take I-40 to Exit #187 in Edgewood (25 miles east of Albuquerque and 8 miles west of Moriarty). At the end of the off-ramp, go south two blocks to the stoplight at the intersection with Highway #333 (Smith’s Grocery will be on your left). Go straight up the hill on Edgewood Road #7 and turn right in ½ mile onto Moriarty Road (gravel). Go ¼ mile to #24 and turn right into my driveway or go straight ahead down the hill and park on your left.

I will have Brad Lancaster’s informative books on rainwater harvesting available for review and purchase (see his extensive website at

I look forward to seeing everyone and meeting new friends! If you need a map or a timely update, please call me at 281-4871.

Interstate Stream Commission Issues Annual Report

(Editor’s Note: Thanks to Cheri Lujan for forwarding us this ISC press release!)

The Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission 2008-2009 Annual Report is now available at under the “Publications,” “Annual Reports,” “2008-2009 Annual Report” or by clicking on this link: Please forward to your local and statewide colleagues.

This document, produced as required by state statute (NMSA 1978, Section 72-2-5), is a review of key accomplishments and challenges faced by the agency during the fiscal year 2008-2009.
“In an effort to save on printing and mailing costs this year, we printed a small number of the annual reports,” said State Engineer John D’Antonio. “The report highlights the passage of key legislation, public outreach activities associated with updating the State Water Plan, the status of adjudications, and basin-specific activities that were important last year.”

If you have any questions, or contact information to update such as name, title, organization, address, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses, please call me at (505) 383-4095 or reply to this e-mail.

Thank you,


Julie Maas
Public Relations Specialist
Office of the State Engineer/Interstate Stream Commission
Planning & Communications Division
5550 San Antonio Dr NE
Albuquerque NM 87109
(505) 383-4095 office
(505) 383-4096 fax

DA Opinion – David King Cleared In Ethics Review

by John Weckerle

This morning’s Albuquerque Journal reports that, according to a review by the Santa Fe District Attorney’s office, PRC member David King’s “actions are within statutory requirements” with respect to his former minority ownership interest in Estancia Basin Water.  The issue was reviewed by the DA’s office because of Mr. King’s family and business relationships with Attorney General Gary King.  For more information, see the Journal article.

Santa Fe County Presents Water Plan Update, City Watershed Thinned

by John Weckerle

On September 29, 2009, Karen Torres of Santa Fe County presented the latest information on the plan for a backup for the Buckman water diversion to serve County residents in the Santa Fe vicinity.  Ms. Torres outlined the County’s strategy for identifying potential locations for backup wells, including soil/rock type (primarily interested in the Tesuque Formation as well as Precambrian granite and Permian limestone), groundwater chemistry, distance to existing water lines, pressure zones, proximity to springs, distance to aquifer decline areas, slope, and proximity to springs/sumps, among others.  Ms. Torres indicated that the County was looking for sources near Santa Fe and was not considering sources in the Estancia Basin, indicating that the County is “not doing to badly on supply in our own area.”  Only two local residents attended the Edgewood meeting.

In related news: Many of us saw smoke rising to the more-or-less north recently.  This was the result of an open-burn project aimed at thinning the Santa Fe Watershed, which provides about 40% of the city’s water supply.  The burn was completed successfully, and we hope that Santa Fe benefits from the project.

Time To Circle The Water Wagons?

by John Weckerle

Today, we received the following message from Karen Torres of  Santa Fe County, forwarded by  the Estancia Valley Economic Development Association:

The Santa Fe County Water and Wastewater Operations Department will be conducting a series of public meetings to facilitate public input on proposed well locations to serve as a back-up water supply to the Buckman Direct Diversion Project.

  • Wednesday, September 23rd 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Nancy Rodriquez Center (1 Prairie Dog Loop)
  • Thursday, September 24th 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Eldorado Senior Center (14 Avenida Torreon)
  • Monday, September 28th 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Rodeo Grounds Extension Office (3229 Rodeo Rd.)
  • Tuesday, September 29th 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Santa Fe County Edgewood Satellite Office (1916 Old US 66, Edgewood)
  • Wednesday, September 30th 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the Pojoaque Satellite Office (West Gutierrez, Suite 9, Pojoaque Center)

For more information, call Karen Torres at 992.9871.

Uh-oh. »» Time To Circle The Water Wagons?

Public Service Announcement – Future Land Use Alternatives Evaluation Available for Comment

From the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee:

The Evaluation of Future Land Use Alternatives for the Estancia Basin Water Planning Region, prepared in support of the Regional Water Plan Update, is now available for review and comment. Comments and suggestions on the report are now being accepted until May 20, 2009. Comments can be sent to Dan McGregor at or mailed to Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee c/o Dan McGregor / County of Bernalillo 2400 Broadway, SW Bldg. N,, Albuquerque, NM 87102.

Copies of the report can be requested from Cheri Lujan at 505-384-2272 ext 103 / 715 South 5th Street, PO Box 58, Estancia NM 87016 or can be downloaded from the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee web site at

Meetings, meetings everywhere…

by John Weckerle

In June 2008, the Office of the State Engineer (OSE), Interstate Stream Commission (ISC) published its first review and recommended update of the New Mexico State Water Plan.  Published in December 2003, the Water Plan established priorities, developed strategies, and identified issues and solutions associated with water planning and policy throughout the State.    Our region – Region #13, Estancia Basin – was the first of the State’s 16 water planning regions to complete its regional water plan, which was prepared and has since been updated by the Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee.

The ISC is currently working to update the Water Plan, and is holding a series of public meetings (schedule) to gather input on such issues as population growth/water demand,conservation, climate variability, and water projects needed in each of the regions.  The meeting for the Estancia Basin will be held at the Moriarty Civic Center, 202 Broadway, on Thursday, April 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.  We encourage those interested in water resources and associated State policies to attend the meeting and let their voices be heard.  For more information, contact the ISS at (505) 764-3864.

Senator Beffort Provides Legislative Update

by John Weckerle

At the Estancia Basin Resource Association (EBRA) annual meeting Saturday, Senator Sue Wilson Beffort provided an update on developments occurring during this legislative session.

Ms. Beffort, who sits on the Senate Finance Committee, indicated that, as currently predicted, expenditures would outweigh tax revenues by $454 million over the next fiscal year, and that number could swell to over $1 billion by next fiscal year.  Because the state cannot indulge in deficite spending, Ms. Beffort indicated that some programs may see reductions in funding.  According to the Senator, some water programs – which have seen substantial spending in recent years – may be reduced this year.  Ms. Beffort indicated that funding in some programs had gone to technologies that “didn’t work,” and that the Finance Committee would be examining that issue this session.  Ms. Beffort also indicated that the Senate Finance Committee was proceeding carefully to ensure that key priorities, such as education, forest management, and people relying on public assistance would not be severely impacted.  Ms. Beffort also referenced 416 appointed positions recently created by the Richardson administration, suggesting that expenditures needed to support those positions would be a topic of discussion. »» Senator Beffort Provides Legislative Update