News from progressive Santa Fe
Members of the City of Santa FeWater Conservation Committee as well as Andy Otto, executive director of the Santa Fe Watershed Association, are working with Water Division staff to create a “story map” of the city/county water system. We envision a graphic representation that includes all sources of our water: Colorado River Basin surface water from the San Juan-Chama Project and native Rio Grande water withdrawn at the Buckman Direct Diversion (BDD) project, Santa Fe RiverWatershed surface water impounded at McClure and Nichols Reservoirs, and groundwater from the Buckman and city well fields. Also indicated on the map are the Canyon Road and Buckman Road water treatment plants and the wastewater treatment plant.
The map will be annotated with relevant information such as the breakdown of the water rights that make the BDD possible, the maximum capacity of the two reservoirs, and the early-warning system to detect flooding in Los Alam- os Canyon (and the possible incursion of Los Alamos National Laboratory contaminants upstream from the BDD). The map will be generated in geographic information system (GIS) format by city staff and will be a very useful online and presentation tool to help explain the complexities of our diverse water supplies. We anticipate having the map completed in two to three months.
TheWater Conservation Committee (WCC) isworking on a project that estimates how much additional treatment would be required to bring treated wastewater into compliance with potable-water standards specified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This task is driven by the notion that our future water supplies will include increased use of treated wastewater.
WCC members Doug Pushard (Harvest H2O) and builder Bill Roth (Modern Design+Construction, Inc.) are using “purple pipe” (indicating recycled water) to bring harvested water into residences for non-potable use (such as flushing toilets) and are working to incorporate this and other water-conservation provisions into the city’s Green Building Code. With the adoption of theUniformPlumbing Code by the State of New Mexico and then the City of Santa Fe, such usage is permitted. Along with provisions for using graywater for non-potable purposes, making such accommodations is more expedient for new construction than for retrofitting existing homes.
With these sameWCC members, the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association and Santa Fe Community College representatives have collaborated to develop a water-rating metric known asWERS (Water Efficiency Rating Score), which is gaining national attention. It is based on a score of 100, with a lower score being better. Graywater and catchment, if present, may be applied as offsets. This rating system earned the team a Sustainable Santa Fe award this year and they are working with city staff toward incorpo- rating WERS into the Residential Green Building Code for new construction. Santa Fe Community College will develop a training program forWERS raters.
StephenWiman has a background in earth science (M.S. and Ph.D. in geology). He is the owner of GoodWater Company, a member of the City of Santa Fe’sWater Conservation Committee and he serves on the Board of the Santa FeWatershed Association. He may be reached at 505.471.9036 and email@example.com.