Water

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

UPDATE 8/25 at 12:30 p.m.: President Russell Begaye is awaiting soil and sediment samples from the Navajo Nation's Environmental Protection Agency before deciding whether to remove restrictions on irrigation from the San Juan River, according to spokesperson Mihio Manus. Begaye, a farmer himself who's relied on the river, met with farmers in Shiprock on Thursday, Aug. 20. 

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Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Gold King Mine spill caused the shut down of San Juan River irrigation to farms on the Navajo Nation. Emergency stopgap measures aren’t quite panning out. 

Rita Daniels

New Mexico lifted water restrictions on the Animas and San Juan Rivers over the weekend in the wake of a toxic mine spill in Colorado.

Water samples showed spikes in heavy metals, but state and federal officials say contaminants have been diluted and dispersed downstream.

That brought relief to farmers in San Juan County who are not on the Navajo Nation. They were given the go-ahead on Saturday to irrigate and use the water for watering livestock after the San Juan and Animas Rivers had been closed for more than a week.

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Update Aug. 18, 11:30 a.m.: The EPA said the water for the Navajo Nation came from nearby Bloomfield and met state and federal quality standards. The trucks came from a division of an Aztec, N.M.-based company, Triple S Trucking, that moves non-potable water. The company also hauls fluids to and from oil fields. KUNM awaits comment from Triple S. 

Marisa Demarco / KUNM

SHIPROCK, N.M.—Not everyone on the Navajo Nation had heard about the Gold King Mine spill that happened more than a week ago, even though they might live along the San Juan River.

Rita Daniels/KUNM

Communities along the Animas and San Juan rivers are still waiting on test results from the Gold King Mine spill. The first round of test results from the toxic plume’s impact on the rivers near Farmington aren't expected until Wednesday.

Rita Daniels / KUNM

State officials met with the Navajo Nation Council on Monday, Aug. 10, to talk about mine waste contamination of the San Juan River flowing through tribal land. New Mexico's top environment official had harsh words about the EPA’s lack of transparency and support. 

Rita Daniels / KUNM

The Navajo Nation Council met on Monday, Aug. 10, to talk about impacts from the more than 3-million-gallon toxic spill into the Animas River. "This is an assault on our way of life," said Delegate Amber Crotty. "This is an assault on core of who we are as Diné people."

Rainy New Mexico

Jun 17, 2015
Ari Levaux, High Country News

The Children's Hour wonders, with all the rain this spring, is New Mexico still in a drought?  Where does our water come from, anyway? Journalist and environmental reporter John Fleck joins The Children’s Hour in the studio to talk about water and the west. We'll also interview Maia Weinstock about her efforts to get the Lego company to have more women scientists and professionals, including a true to life US Supreme Court. Plus great music, the KUNM Kids Birthday Club, a family events calendar and so much more. 

KUNM Reporting Series

Apr 15, 2015

The Rio Grande runs through three states, and all along the way communities use the river’s waters for drinking, crop irrigation, and for Native American religious ceremonies. But with New Mexico’s biggest urban centers and military bases—and the substantial pollution they generate—near to the riverbanks, how safe is the Rio Grande for people and wildlife?

elycefeliz via flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency is working with the City of Albuquerque to install a state of the art parking lot at a municipal facility that will reduce pollution flowing into the Rio Grande. 

The city is spending $61,000 to replace an old parking lot at Pino Yards, a municipal maintenance and fueling facility. The project is part of a settlement with the EPA, coming after toxic runoff from the site drained into the Rio Grande, resulting in violations of the Clean Water Act.

Poop Happens, Then What?

Oct 21, 2014
Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority

  

 Sat. 10/25, 9am:  It all comes out in the end, they say, and when it does, where does it go? We learned exactly what happens with Albuquerque-Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority educator Sharon Savinski. Plus, we explored the methane world of flatulence. It stinks!  

Laura Tenorio

Young scientists from Taos High School won the top prize at eCYBERMISSION, a national army-sponsored contest that asks students to come up with real-world solutions to problems in their communities. 

Ninth-graders in Taos figured out how to create inexpensive filters to remove antibiotics from drinking water. On Friday, June 20, they won $20,000 for their efforts, plus an additional $5,000 grant for the next phase of their work—implementation.

Laura Tenoria

Taos High School students are pitching a water-cleaning project in a national science competition called eCYBERMISSION this week in D.C. The prize? $25,000 and the chance to help the U.S. get antibiotics out of its water supply.

Students at Taos High have figured out how use crushed blue crab shells to create filters that remove antibiotics from water. They used the crustacean shells to create Chitosan, which is commonly used in agriculture, medicine and industry. 

Navajo Nation Declares Drought Emergency

Jul 2, 2013
Margaret Hiza-Redsteer, USGS Flagstaff, AZ / USGS

Navajo President Ben Shelley has declared a state of emergency for drought conditions on the Navajo Nation. Officials are concerned ongoing drought may be creating unsafe conditions for people who need drinkable water.

Navajo Nation Funds Water Projects

May 9, 2013

With drought affecting much of the southwest, the Navajo Nation is working to bring water to it's citizens with the tribal government recently approving over $8-million dollars for water infrastructure projects.
The Navajo Nation is roughly the size of West Virginia, has a population of around 170,000 people, and much of the Nations citizens are in need of water.

The Economics of Water Conservation

Aug 14, 2012
Randy Son Of Robert

The land of enchantment is rich in many natural resources. Water, however, isn't one of them. And while higher prices have a way of persuading people to consume less, would raising water rates cause New Mexicans to turn off their spigots? 

US Bureau of Reclamation

A legal battle over water in the lower Rio Grande has New Mexico accusing the federal government of trying to take control of the state’s groundwater.

In a filing in the Third District Court in Las Cruces recently, the Bureau of Reclamation said it should be able to pump groundwater when it needs to deliver water in the Rio Grande to downstream users, such as farmers.

That raised the hackles of New Mexico state legislators, and others, including the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. That office controls the state’s groundwater.

More New Mexicans to rely on Colorado River water

Jul 23, 2012
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

A study by the federal government shows that New Mexico is expected to see its population that uses the Colorado River Basin for water grow from nearly 1.5 million people today to between 2 million and 3 million by 2060.

That's according to the latest data from a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/OhHnQI) that New Mexico and the other states that depend on the Colorado River Basin for water face a growing gap between how much water nature provides and how much people want to use.

Staci Stevens

Audubon New Mexico released a report on the heels of a visit here by Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. The study argues that restoring natural streamflows will bring environmental and economic benefits.

Dams, reservoirs, and levees are all tools used to alter the natural flow of a river for crop irrigation, drinking water and industrial use. The benefits are substantial. But they also create major changes to the natural flow pattern of New Mexico’s rivers and streams.

Navajo lawmakers reject water rights settlement

Jul 5, 2012
Indigenous Action Media

Navajo lawmakers have rejected a settlement that recognizes the tribe's rights to water from the Little Colorado River basin.

The Tribal Council voted 15-6 against the settlement Thursday during a special session in Window Rock.

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl had introduced legislation to approve the settlement, but it needed the blessing of the Navajo and Hopi tribes to move forward. Kyl has said the settlement would address water needs on the reservations and provide certainty of the water supply for off-reservation communities.

Utility inadvertently diverted irrigation water

Jul 5, 2012
Jesse Shuck

The water utility in Albuquerque inadvertently diverted farmers' irrigation water from the Rio Grande for more than a week in late June and used it for the city's drinking water supplies.

The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/MXVOs1) that John Stomp, chief operating officer of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility, acknowledged the improper diversions and agreed to pay back the farmers.

US Bureau of Reclamation

Large scale water projects are a growing phenomenon in the West. But a new study argues they could lead to water shortages and increased costs.

Photo via www.commons.wikimedia.org

The water inside Montezuma Well-part of the Montezuma Castle Monument near Rimrock, Arizona- is ten to thirteen THOUSAND years old. The Arizona Water Company operates two commercial wells near the monument and now another water company wants to open their own high-production well just 300 feet from the boundaries of the national park.