Water in the news 

Editor: 

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like articles about how the world is running out of fresh water are suddenly appearing everywhere.  

For instance, a long New York Times article recently detailed how we’re rapidly using up groundwater all over the United States. (nytimes.com/interactive/2023/08/28/climate/ groundwater-drying-climate-change.html) 

Phoenix, Ariz., recently outlawed new housing developments on the fringes of the city because their ground water has all been allocated. 

Local TV news programs reported in December that, in a move to use less water, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District was offering some farmers $700 per acre to let their land lie fallow in 2024. 

It’s hard to determine just how much water is still down there, but a 2021 US Geological Service publication on water levels in the Albuquerque aquifer seemed to indicate, for instance, that water table levels just east of Tomé sank about 3 feet between 1998 and 2021. (pubs.usgs.gov/publication/dr1162/full) 

So fresh water’s running out and people are getting cranky about it, but in Los Lunas, there’s ongoing pressure to allocate 782 acre-feet (250,000,000 gallons, or about 2.7 times as much water as they are now using) of water a year to the Niagara Bottling plant. 

Bottled water has always seemed wasteful and wrong-headed to me, except when it’s an emergency fix in places that have bad-tasting water or have lost their normal water supply, like Jackson, Miss., or New Mexico’s Mora County after the fires. 

Then, last week, publications from People Magazine to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences headlined articles about microplastics and nanoplastics in bottled water in the products of three large, unidentified bottling companies — about 250,000 tiny pieces of plastic per liter bottle as opposed to 5.5 tiny pieces in tap water. Some of the scientists involved with the study plan cut way back on drinking bottled water. 

And guess what? If you buy bottled water by the pallet-full, it’s usually at least 23 cents for each 17 ounce bottle, as opposed to .003, or a third of a cent, if it comes out of your tap. 

Laura F. Sanchez 

Los Lunas 

 

We’re not stupid 

Editor: 

The Niagara executives think little of Los Lunas Village Council members’ and residents’ intelligence. 

Niagara violated their agreement of maximum water extraction every month except two months since they began extracting in 2017. That is less than 3 percent compliance, more than 97 percent of the time they are in violation. But now they promise to behave? 

Niagara executives told the village that they aim to be compliant on an annual basis, because it is hard to control on a monthly basis. Excuse me? If you know you exceed your amount every month, don’t you know you will fail your annual quota? Do they think the Los Lunas residents are stupid to buy that argument? 

Niagara profusely explained that the financial penalties proposed in the new agreement would be onerous. But they have paid without flinching more than $230,000 since 2017 for non-authorized Los Lunas water resources.   

We can well assume that the proposed penalties in the expanded water extraction proposal fall well within the business plans of Niagara. 

Paul Parmentier 

Los Lunas 

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The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.