U.S. Water News Online
SANTA FE -- Santa Fe County commissioners have approved a
plan for a subdivision expansion that limits the amount of water each
future home may use.
Under the deal, people who will live in Rancho Viejo's Windmill
Ridge III subdivision will be expected to limit annual potable water
use to about 65,170 gallons. The first several hundred houses built
in the development were based on about 81,463 gallons per year.
Rancho Viejo initially proposed each house be allowed even less
water, saying people who live in the development consistently use
fewer gallons than expected. County employees suggested the higher
amount as a safeguard.
Rancho Viejo submitted three years of meter readings showing
residents use less than the newly approved amount.
The developer will be required to apply to the state engineer to
transfer Rancho Viejo's water rights to the county utility system to
account for any difference between actual use and the allotment. If
homes use more water, the county would be able to pump the same
amount of water to replenish the system.
The state engineer must approve the transfer of the backup water
rights for the deal to go through.
The County Commission will review details of the backup plan
within 18 months, and the developer will have to submit periodic
water use information.
Cooperation with Rancho Viejo means the commission can assert more
control over water use in the area it has designated for growth, said
Liza Vitale, who coordinates the county's water conservation.
``We were able to work with a really big developer to make sure
the development was sustainable,'' she said.
Other area developers who want to base water budgets on lesser
amounts must prove residents will maintain that level, she said.
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