Small towns at risk

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The town of Yasso in western De Baca County is little more than a post office, dilapidated buildings and pastures. Without water restrictions, some state officials think other rural towns could suffer the same fate. By Gary Mitchell Could water shortages produce ghost towns throughout eastern New Mexico any time soon? It’s possible. “We do […]

Richardson swings through area

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New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson talks to people Wednesday in the North Annex of Clovis-Carver Public Library during a town meeting. By Jack King On a swing through Curry and Roosevelt counties Wednesday, Gov Bill Richardson expressed support for a Ute Lake surface water distribution system and an overpass over State Road 467, but was […]

Water quality: Right as rain

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The Ogallala Aquifer is an excellent source for drinking water because it acts like a natural filter for impurities. By Gary Mitchell One good thing about having to drill so deeply for water in this region is it helps ensure its purity, water experts say. The primary water source for this area is the Ogallala […]

Top names in water

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Former legislator Hoyt Pattison said depleted water supplies have forced him to switch to dryland farming. By Haley Rice Editor’s note: The following are profiles of movers and shakers in the world of water — from the man who dug the first wells on the Llano Estacado to the high-profile voices in the ongoing debate […]

State oversees water issues

By Claire Bushey In New Mexico, water is such a precious resource it naturally follows that many people and organizations devote their efforts to researching and managing it. The two major state organizations that control water-related matters are the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer and the Interstate Stream Commission. Separate government agencies, they […]

Too much flouride can stain teeth

By Gary Mitchell Most experts agree Clovis’ main water supply is low in chemicals that could cause major health problems. But it is not problem free. “The water in the Clovis area is a little high in naturally occurring fluoride. And it can do some cosmetic discoloration on teeth,” said Robin Casale, regional water quality […]

Cloud seeding director undaunted by critics

By Haley Rice Duncan Axisa believes he can make it rain. Axisa said this power is available to him through cloud seeding, the process of dropping silver iodide crystals into the supercooled upper parts of clouds. The crystals act as a gathering point, attracting and freezing the microscopically small droplets of water that make up […]

Agriculture chief water user in area

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By Tony Farkas Agriculture is the foundation for eastern New Mexico’s economy. The cotton gins that didn’t stop production even on Thanksgiving Day, the farm implements seen along the roads and highways every spring and fall, and the aroma from the local feedlots and dairies offer plenty of physical evidence to support the statement. Statistics […]

Dryland farming may not be a viable option

By Tony Farkas Since the High Plains’ economy is based on agriculture, and since water for crops and livestock may soon be in short supply, one solution seems obvious: Farmers should stop irrigating and raise dryland crops. But that won’t work, most agricultural experts agree. “I don’t see that happening, not in my lifetime,” said […]

Dairies large, efficient water users

By Gary Mitchell Dairy operations in the region tend to use large amounts of water, but proponents say they use it efficiently — with little impact to the area’s ground-water source. “Sure they use a lot of water, but their water is never wasted,” said Stan Jones, Curry County extension agent. “The water is used […]

Cattle operations criticized over wastewater

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By Gary Mitchell Cows have long had homes in eastern New Mexico, in pastures and feedlots. So why are environmentalists concerned about dairy farms? Wastewater. “Feedlots tend not to be generating a large volume of wastewater,” said Maura Hanning, program manager for groundwater pollution prevention for the New Mexico Environment Department. “Dairies are the big […]

From the editor’s desk

Those who’ve grown up around here have heard the warnings all of our lives — we’re going to run out of water some day. Some day is not that far away anymore. If we don’t do something quick — drastically reduce our water consumption or figure out a way to get more water in here […]

Aquifer history goes back millions of years

By Claire Bushey The word “aquifer” comes from two Latin words, which together mean “to bring water.” That is what the Ogallala Aquifer has done for the High Plains for nearly a century. Named after the town of Ogallala, Neb., the aquifer covers 174,000 square miles in parts of eight states, including New Mexico and […]

Area could be dry by 2040 — or maybe sooner

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Water takes on even more importance in the High Plains, where agriculture is one of the leading businesses. By Claire Bushey The question of how much water is left in the eastern New Mexico area has bedeviled politicians and business owners, scientists and ordinary consumers for decades. The answer is still unknown. New Mexico-American Water […]

Farmers already feeling effects of disappearing water supply

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Donald Jones of Farwell said lack of water and increased costs have driven him out of farming. By Haley Rice and Dave Gragg Donald Jones has been farming 29 years, but he has had enough. He loves farming and would continue, but said he’s running out of water on his Farwell farm. And Jones is […]

Water’s future flows with challenges

By David Stevens Those who’ve grown up around here have heard the warnings all of our lives — we’re going to run out of water some day. Some day is not that far away anymore. If we don’t do something quick — drastically reduce our water consumption or figure out a way to get more […]

CNJ to explore water issues

Water is the mixture of two gases: hydrogen and oxygen. It is a vital solvent for human life. Given that 70 percent of the body is water, it makes obvious sense that water is necessary for the human body to function properly, said Dr. Newton Hilliard, a chemistry professor at Eastern New Mexico University. “Water […]

One dies in plunge to Pecos

By Jack King The body of a 77-year-old Fort Sumner-area man was recovered from 30 feet of water Wednesday morning after his pickup plunged into the Pecos River below Lake Sumner Dam on Tuesday night. Uley Dowell, who lived in a cabin on Lake Sumner, was pronounced dead at the scene by Deputy Medical Investigator […]