U.S. Water News Online
SANTA FE -- A dismal summer monsoon season and low snow
pack in the local mountains so far are raising concerns among local
water officials that Santa Fe could be dealing with another emergency
drought situation next summer.
Craig O'Hare, water programs administrator for the Sangre de
Cristo Water Division, said Santa Fe's reservoirs are only at 31
percent capacity right now.
This time last year, the reservoirs were at 34 percent capacity.
Further, the water runoff from the summer season was only at about
2 million gallons per day.
A good season will yield 4 million to 6 million gallons of water
runoff per day, O'Hare said.
The summer monsoon season and low snow pack so far this winter are
causing O'Hare and other water officials to wonder if the city will
have to declare a drought emergency like the one enacted at the start
of the 2000 summer.
"The fact that we had a very disappointing summer monsoon season
puts even more pressure on the winter season," O'Hare said. "We need
an average or above-average precipitation season this winter to fill
those reservoirs up."
During the 2000 summer, the city issued a stage three emergency
drought declaration after a bleak summer monsoon and winter snow
season. The highest stage for an emergency drought declaration is a
Weather predictions call for average precipitation levels this
"We're still early in the snow season, so it's not time to start
panicking yet," O'Hare said. "But we're certainly concerned about
being below average."
Despite the summer 2000 drought declaration, a good monsoon season
and winter snow pack filled the two reservoirs.
To help bear the brunt of a possible below-average season this
year, the city's water division announced a set of required
year-round water provisions for residents this year.
Those conditions include:
"Of particular note is that the requirements apply to all water
users within the city limits (including those on private domestic
wells) and all customers of the city water utility (including those
in unincorporated Santa Fe County)," a press release from the water
O'Hare said Santa Feans have been good about conservation.
"We continue to expect wise water use of our citizens and, in
turn, minimize our water usage," he said.
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