Caring for our water

There are several upcoming events when you can learn and be proactive about water in Santa Fe County.


Santa Fe is one of five cities nationwide selected by the EPA to receive assistance with stormwater planning. A brainstorming session is happening Tuesday 26th of September from 5-7 pm at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. The issues range from small but important (dog poop) to huge (what happens after a unplanned watershed fire?). The risk comes from big intense storms, where everything in our streets, yards, and watershed is picked up by the flowing surface water, and is deposited into the Santa Fe River.How can we keep the pollutants to a minimum?  How can we reduce the destructive force?

Discussion Questions:

  1. What do you see as water-related challenges in Santa Fe that you think need to be addressed now? What about in the future?
  2. Are there challenges that relate to water more broadly? Recreational needs? Energy consumption? Water quality?
  3. Are there incentives that would help you install practices that capture and use stormwater?
  4. How has the city’s current stormwater management process affected you?
    1. Are you familiar with this process?
    2. Has it impacted the way you do business?
  5. Can you identify any past or existing long-term planning efforts by the city that are good examples, models for success, or provide an opportunity for inclusion?
  6. What would you like to see incorporated in a long-term stormwater plan for Santa Fe?
  7. Are there certain groups of people or sections of the city that are impacted by these water challenges more than others? Any suggestions about how to engage these groups?
  8. How do you see yourself participating in this effort moving forward?

Check out EPA Long Term Stormwater Flyer.

Keeping an ecosystem alive

In the summer of 2016, it appeared that the ponds just below the closed portion of the Santa Fe watershed were going to go dry. This area was donated to the Nature Conservancy and is operated as a nature preserve. It is open daily for the enjoyment of the public.  The hopes of the community have been high since the passage of a Living River ordinance passed in 2012.  However, the ordinance made no reference to the ponds created after Two Mile dam, constructed in 1893, was removed in 1994. A bypass channel around the reservoir provided additional capacity in the case of severe flooding (as occurred in 1904) to avoid overtopping the dam. This channel is now the primary means of delivering water to the acequias and the river. But the most biologically diverse portion of the river is the preserve!

The Santa Fe River Commission made recommendations to the City earlier this year, and City staff have insured that adequate flow has persisted since last summer’s problem. City councilors have set up a meeting of the Public Utilities Committee to meet at the Audubon center at 4pm on October 4.  They will be looking at the bypass channel and gauges in the area.

Information on the preserve
Memo the River Commission submitted to the PUC

Keeping our river beautiful

Saturday, October 14 10am – 12 noon River cleanup. Meet at Closson St. footbridge, bring workgloves 12:30 picnic, Alto Park. In conjunction with Santa Fe Watershed Association ‘Hunt for the Red Rocktober’. Contact: John Buchser  jbuchser@comcast.net.

What happens to our wastewater?

October 27, Friday 1:30-3:30pm  Tour of Santa Fe wastewater treatment facility as part of a special meeting of the Santa Fe River Commission [map].

Featured image: Santa Fe wastewater treatment plant


Caring for our water