EDGEWOOD, N.M. (KRQE) - A committee representing three counties in New Mexico is preparing for the future, taking a closer look at how much water we're using and how we can better conserve before it all dries up.
The Estancia Basin Water Planning Committee (EBWPC) is funding a groundwater study it hopes will shed light on just how much needs to be done to make sure we're not taking more water than Mother Nature is giving.
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"The water table has dropped because you have more soda straws in the same soda can," says Rita-Loy Simmons, a member of the EBWPC.
EBWPC has representatives from Santa Fe, Bernalillo and Torrance counties.
The committee and a few soil-and-water conservation districts are funding a $10,000 groundwater study.
"What is proposed is to develop a water budget for the basin, to see what the deficit is, how much is being taken out as opposed to how much is being recharged," says Randall Roberts with HydroResoultions.
If that deficit isn't too big, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service plans to make it up by working with farmers giving them incentives to use less water by growing different crops or modifying irrigation systems.
Roberts says HydroResolutions has been monitoring water levels in 12 locations in the Estancia Basin for the past four years, and the results are concerning.
"The middle of the basin, for example north of Estancia, you see about a 5-foot drop per year," Roberts says. "More or less basin-wide, we're seeing drops in water levels."
But he says he's hopeful seeing the EBWPC's response.
"Rather than sitting back and watching what's going on, they can be proactive and attack the problem and see if they can correct it to some extent," Roberts says.
HydroResolutions has to get a report together by early March. From there, federal agencies will work with that to figure out what action to take.
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