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 skwiman@good­wa­ter­com­

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