Readers not dry when it comes to water-saving tips

Editor’s note: The Clovis News Journal asks readers to respond via e-mail to a series of questions each week. To participate in Project: Reader Reaction, contact Editor David Stevens at:

New Mexico-American Water Company officials have asked customers to reduce water use for the next several weeks. A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked participants if they’re concerned this is the beginning of serious water shortages, or maybe just a wake-up call to get ready for problems down the road. Some responses:

“According to the statistics that I have read, we have a serious water shortage. Some communities have strict rules for use of water in car washes, laundromats, and on lawns. We should limit water usage to what is necessary. Water isn’t free. The city should be congratulated on restricting the use of water on the golf course, and should extend that to the soccer and softball fields. The soaking that they were getting on a daily basis is not necessary to maintain healthy grass. Of course, remember that using less water doesn’t guarantee lower water rates!” — Bill Gaedke, Clovis

“Let’s see. The average rainfall is 17.89 inches. The average drop in the aquifer has been one to three feet per year for the last 30 years, but this drop has increased to nine feet recently. The water system continues to add high-volume commercial users. The Ute Lake pipeline project has been under way for more than 40 years. Am I concerned? Why should I be concerned?” — R. L. Render, Clovis

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to help conserve water, and I believe the majority do in fact try to conserve. Is this a wakeup call? I think not. I’ve read plenty of articles in the paper on this issue and every month when I get my water bill there’s a leaflet giving tips on how to conserve. Let’s not jump on the band wagon and try to find someone to blame, let’s just come together and do what’s necessary to conserve our precious lifeblood.” — Michael Williams, Clovis

“I don’t believe there is a water shortage in this area. There are new agricultural wells drilled in this area weekly. This shortage does make one wonder — just after N.M.-Water started talking about a rate increase.” — John Frey, Clovis

“Yes, a water shortage is coming to us eventually. However, I think this is a wake-up call in that the New Mexico-American Water Company is using a power play to push through its rate increase. I agree the infrastructure needs work but it seems very timely that the water company is requesting a rate increase for this very problem and now they have a “public” problem prior to the public hearings on their increase. What have they been doing, other than gathering profits by high water costs, to maintain the infrastructure? I may be off base on this, but the question needs to be asked and their motives questioned.” — Bruce Ford, Clovis

“The water shortage problem has been with us for a long time. We just don’t want to face up to the fact. Hopefully the current situation caused by drought and partially by poor planning/lack of adequate infrastructure will force more of us to face up to the problem. The city government needs to increase the gross receipts tax that is applied to our water bills (water only) and set the additional funds aside for the Ute Lake (pipeline) project. We need to come up with the money for our share of the project somehow. Most households pay more for telephone service or cable/satellite TV in a year than for water. Water is more important than either of them. Plus, increasing the cost of water is one way to get more of us thinking about conservation.” — Auggie Jones, Clovis
“I wonder if the recent influx of dairy farms has anything to do with the water shortage. We have been told for years that the one resource we cannot survive without is water. So what’s more important? Green grass or life?” — Patti Cundari, Clovis

“This is one big wake-up call for the entire population of Clovis, which should take heed of the situation or face the possibility of becoming a ghost town of the future.” — Gerald “Ski” Majewski, Clovis

“I just hope we haven’t closed the gate after the horses got out or fiddled while Rome burned. I think (the water company) is trying to wake us up to a more serious water shortage than we now have. Probably, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Unless we have a few years of rains like we had in 1941, the underground water supply is going to be depleted. Then we will wish we had some of that water we saw running down barrow ditches from careless irrigation management.” — James W. McDonald, Clovis
“Remember the May series “Liquid of Life” published in the Clovis News Journal? Statistics given there showed us that Curry County domestic water users only consume about 5 percent of the water taken from our resources, while agriculture uses the remaining 95 percent. The sad realism here is that any conservation efforts on the part of us (the domestic user) will have little impact in saving water if agriculture is allowed to continue consumption at the present rate and new wells continue to be permitted.
“How many times have you been driving outside to the city limits and noticed irrigation pivots watering in the heat of the day and even on very windy days? How effective is this? We’re told to limit our landscape watering to the early mornings or the late evenings (or nights) to limit waste. What about agriculture, which uses 95 times more water than us?” — Bob Baker, Clovis

“I believe this is a wake-up call, but a bonafide one. It never has been a good idea to waste water, and current conditions call for conservation efforts by all.” — Harold Burris, Clovis

“We know our water is limited. The Ogallala is what my geologist father-in-law calls fossil water. I hope we do take this as a wake-up call, and realize our water is like oil. There may seem to be a lot of it, but it will run out. We need to look seriously at large-scale water conservation methods.” — Carol Singletary, Clovis

“Since our economy is set by the constraints of supply and demand, I am always a bit leery of claims of shortages by the supply side. One needn’t be a genius to see that we live in a desert, and we haven’t had rain in some time; so it is natural to conclude that water is becoming more limited in these parts. The question remains whether there truly is a shortage underground or if the wake-up call is to prepare us for a rate increase. Not to worry, we have plenty of milk to drink (tongue is firmly in cheek).” — Raymond Atchley, Clovis

“On the one hand, everyone is excited about the new growth of businesses in Clovis. On the other hand, some are not excited about the growth of the dairy industry. Seems to me that the increase in dairies preceded the current growth in Clovis. Maybe the extra jobs and incomes had something to do with an increase in the prosperity of local businesses here. What has this got to do with water? Well, every new business means more water usage. Every new family means more water usage. We need to get going on planning for how we are going to obtain, and to use, the water. We are never going to use less than we do right now.” — Carolyn Spence, Clovis

“I believe the water problem is just being noticed by the public. Because we have plush lawns, pretty flowers and water on every table we forget that we are living in a desert. Water is a luxury we cannot afford to spend all of. We need to conserve where we can and understand this is one resource we have to protect. We should be looking at conserving but also creating ways of storing through dams, lakes and reservoirs. We should be proactive not reactive. Wake up and know that our future doesn’t depend on oil but it does water. No water, no Clovis.” — Jim Sitterly, Clovis

“I don’t feel it is a big problem yet. I have always asked myself the questions, ‘What happens when we don’t get any rain? What will happen if the water runs out? How much oil is really underground and how long will it last?’ If more people would try to conserve resources and not figure, ‘Well, it’s not my problem, I won’t be alive when that happens,’ then we will run out of water. If everyone were willing to make just a few changes to how we use water at home then we can make what we have last a lot longer. But if golf courses and parks don’t cut back, then people will think that only the privileged few can do what they want and we’re back to square one.” — Dan Toledo, Clovis