Think about va­ca­tion wa­ter use

Home - Santa Fe Real Estate Guide - - PERMACULTUREINPRACTICE WATERMATTERS - CHRIS­TINE Y. CHAVEZ

I re­cently went on a trip­withmy daugh­ter and we spent a week at the Beaver Creek Re­sort in Colorado. The morn­ings were crisp enough to al­most al­ways re­quire a light sweater and the af­ter­noons al­ways brought light rain show­ers. The re­sort it­self was so green and lush and there was al­ways staff plant­ing, trimming, and clean­ing the grounds.

As we set­tled into our week, I found my­self so re­laxed. Be­tween the af­ter­noon swims, the even­ing ice skat­ing, and the walks on the grounds, I had set­tled into a won­der­ful, re­lax­ing pat­tern. Dur­ing one of my af­ter­noon show­ers af­ter our swim, my daugh­ter told me, “Wow, Mom, you waste a lot of wa­ter here.” I froze in my spot as the hot wa­ter from the rain­fall show­er­head poured over my body. I stopped to think about the fact that since we had been on va­ca­tion, I had treated my­self to some­times two show­ers a day. I had not even thought about how long I had been in the shower or all the hot wa­ter I was con­sum­ing at all.

Then I looked out­side the glass and saw the huge pile of tow­els we had ac­cu­mu­lated just in one day from the swim­ming and the show­ers. I hadn’t even thought about reusing the tow­els, be­cause I knew they were go­ing to bring us a nice stack of clean tow­els in the morn­ing. My daugh­ter’s com­ment brought me back to a shock­ing re­al­ity. We are so ex­tremely con­ser­va­tive in our own home that my be­hav­ior had even trig­gered my daugh­ter to see the dif­fer­ence in my be­hav­ior away from home. We were talk­ing after­wards and I asked her why she thoughtwewere us­ing wa­ter dif­fer­ently away from home and she replied, “Prob­a­bly be­cause we are not pay­ing for it.” Not the first timemy daugh­ter has brought on se­ri­ous self-re­flec­tion.

The City of Santa Fe it­self is very con­ser­va­tive when it comes to us­ing wa­ter, but it made me think of wa­ter use in the city from a tourist per­spec­tive. Cer­tainly when you visit Santa Fe you don’t feel like you are in the desert. Our city is very green and lush and hardly looks drought-stricken, yet those of us who live here cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ate our wa­ter resource. Is it be­cause of mes­sag­ing, high-wa­ter rates for high wa­ter use, our en­force­ment of­fi­cer who ed­u­cates peo­ple out in the field, all the time spent ed­u­cat­ing our youth, our re­bate pro­gram, or the fact that our cus­tomers have to­tal con­trol over their wa­ter use with our Eye onWater app? I’mnot sure, but what I did learn af­ter this va­ca­tion is that all of us still need to be re­minded.

After­wards I looked for the sig­nage in our ho­tel room and found it hang­ing be­hind all our tow­els on the rack. I moved it to the bath­room sink where we could look at it for the re­main­der of our stay.

City of Santa Fe busi­ness, restau­rant and ho­tel own­ers are re­quired to post wa­ter-con­ser­va­tion sig­nage in their fa­cil­i­ties. For free sig­nage fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful pho­tog­ra­phy by our In­sta­gram con­test win­ner Kate Lindsey, please visit www. save­wa­ter­santafe.com.

Chris­tine Y. Chavez has a back­ground in wa­ter rights ad­min­is­tra­tion and en­ergy and wa­ter con­ser­va­tion pro­gram man­age­ment in the state of New Mex­ico. She is a grad­u­ate of New Mex­ico State Univer­sity with a B.S. in en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­ence and an M.S. in bi­ol­ogy. Chris­tine is the wa­ter con­ser­va­tion man­ager for the City of Santa Fe. She may be reached at 505.955.4219 or cy­chavez@santafenm.gov.

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