Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Learn Your Water Footprint
By now we should all be getting the message: Conserve water. There’s a water shortage.
The hand writing is on the wall: aquifer pumping has become a concern in neighboring Doña Ana County. Since the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) has chosen to deliver more water sooner to Mexico, thus depriving Texas farmers, Texas State Agricultural Commissioner, Todd Staples, fired off a strong letter to the IBWC. You can see for yourself that the Rio Grande is dry. More water may not be released until June. EPWU CEO Ed Archuleta encouraged all of us in an El Paso Times op-ed piece to conserve more and to participate in the utility’s Less Is the New More program. For now, watering our yards twice a week is a suggestion. One wonders when it might have to become mandatory.
EPWU’s Less Is the New More program is a good one for all of us to get involved with. Do check out our water utility’s conservation page; and, as you do more spring planting, see their plant page. Like and follow EPWU’s Facebook page.
Water conservation programs that encourage or require our watering our gardens less or using water-efficient shower heads are great short-term solutions to periodic drought. Even the Texas Department of Agriculture has a poll on its home page that suggests that conserving water is just a matter of using better appliances, fixing leaky faucets and taking shorter baths. What we have to realize is that water is embedded in everything that we use – the food we eat, the clothes that we wear, the gasoline that we put in our cars. We need to know our water footprint. National Geographic has a water footprint calculator that educates as well as demonstrates how much water we use. Also visit the Water Footprint Network and try out their calculator.
Get to know Sandra Postel. Watch one of her videos on elpasonaturally and see more at YouTube. She knows about the concept of a water footprint.
One issue Postel raises is our need to irrigate our crop lands more efficiently. An elpasonaturally reader recently told me that Middle Eastern students visiting UTEP are always aghast at how we irrigate our fields and even the water-hungry crops that we grow. Note that only a handful of people can vote in the elections of board members of the El Paso Water Improvement District. Yet, your voice for water conservation and irrigation reform should be heard.
Read between the lines of Archuleta’s El Paso Times op-ed piece. If 50% of our water comes from our river, and if Caballo/Elephant Butte is down to 18%, then what happens to the draw rate on the Hueco Bolson and who’s water will we need? How much water farms require to grow water-hungry crops needs to be questioned especially now that the Rodriquez/Quintanilla bill cut 75,000 people out of public decisions on an essential public good – water. Your non-public Public Service Board and officers of EPWU endorsed that bill. Whose behind it? Big donors to Silvestre Reyes who control the EPWID whose general manager is Silvestre’s brother, “Chuy”.
I guess that there is no mistaking that I support Beto O’Rourke for Congress and am delighted by the EP Times endorsement. The recent pandering to local conservationists by Rep. Reyes on the issue of Castner Range was a big yawn. Beto gave a solid response.
I recently wrote an email to Jim Carrillo of Halff Associates, Inc. regarding the updating of the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Master Plan. I posted that email on the blog and hope you will read it. I argue that, more than just recreation, Parks can help us to become more connected with nature.
Finally, elpasonaturally is saying more about bicycling. There are more activities in El Paso for Bike Month. Check them out.