Mixed Me­dia Cel­e­brate Wa­ter Day at the Rai­l­yard

Pasatiempo - - NEWS - — Paul Wei­de­man

Clean hands can save your fe; ecosyste s e at e heart of the global wa­ter cy­cle. Th­ese are two of the essages dis­sem­i­nated by the 22-year-old World Wa­ter Day cam­paign est lishe in 93 by the Un Na­tions Gen­eral As­sem­bly. March 22 is the designa day for the nual ob­ser­vance; this year, it falls on a Sund Tha ay, t e Sa ta Fe-based or aniza­tion Wa­ter En­gi­neers for the Americ (WEF is stag­ing a pe­cial event for this year’s theme, which is ti ed “t d Susta able Devel­op­ment.”

From 7 to 10 p.m., the non­profit’s vol­un­teers and ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor, Elise Arena, will be at the Santa Fe Rai­l­yard wa­ter tower at the cor­ner of Al­caldesa and Mar­ket streets. “We are putting to­gether a video in­stal­la­tion,” Arena said. “We’ll bathe the area in blue light, and the video is 40 min­utes and will loop. It con­tains in­for­ma­tion about global wa­ter is­sues, fac­tual in­for­ma­tion about wa­ter and our or­ga­ni­za­tion, and there will be a photo mon­tage from our work in Cen­tral Amer­ica and Mex­ico.”

The in­stal­la­tion was de­signed and do­nated by Marisela La Grave, direc­tor of the Mag­netic Lab­o­ra­to­rium, an in­ter­me­dia artist col­lab­o­ra­tive based in New York City (La Grave spends part of each year in Santa Fe, how­ever).

Arena wants to raise aware­ness about WEFTA, which has worked on more than 60 drink­ing-wa­ter and waste­water-sys­tem projects in Latin Amer­ica. WEFTA re­sponds to re­quests for en­gi­neer­ing and/or fi­nan­cial aid from com­mu­ni­ties, then sends in en­gi­neers to make the im­prove­ments hap­pen. “We are now work­ing on projects in the Al­ti­plano [the high plateau in Bo­livia, Peru, Chile, and Ar­gentina], where there is ac­ces­si­ble wa­ter, but it needs to be piped closer to peo­ple’s homes. We also have clean-wa­ter or la­trine projects in Hon­duras and in Chi­a­pas, Mex­ico.”

Her orig­i­nal vi­sion for this event was to project the video di­rectly onto the wa­ter tower, but that would have been too ex­pen­sive — WEFTA is a thrifty en­ter­prise. “We can do projects that make a dif­fer­ence for $3,000, where most fancy, big or­ga­ni­za­tions need more like $3 mil­lion. Our en­gi­neers, many of whom are with Souder, Miller & As­so­ciates, use their va­ca­tion time for this work. It’s all about en­thu­si­asm and pas­sion. What we do is def­i­nitely from the heart.” For in­for­ma­tion about this free-of-charge event, visit www.wefta.net or call 505-473-9211.

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