Swickard: A really big big water project

© 2013 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. When is the best time to plant a big old shade tree? It was twenty years ago so we have that shade now. So tell me, when is the NEXT BEST time to plant a shade tree? Plant it now so at least we will have shade in the future.
     That is the issue in front of New Mexico about the current water dilemma. We, as a state, are really short of water. When should the leaders of New Mexico have made a plan to deal with the water crisis? That is easy; they should have dealt with this crisis twenty years ago. When is the next best time? Now.
     New Mexico has been in a drought for 280 million years come next August, so being short of water should come as no surprise. OK, I exaggerate, but it has been thousands of years. Since recorded time water has been short in our little slice of paradise.
     Through good times and bad our politicians complain about the lack of water but what is really lacking are plans to deal with the lack of water. Our state needs water for household use and for use by the various Agricultural industries.
     My plan would tie our water needs to the needs of the El Paso valley farmers in Texas. States that border an ocean have a great advantage because they can desalinate sea water and the brine conveniently goes out to sea. The oceans are forever whereas if New Mexico desalinates our own brackish water, it is finite. Yes, it may last longer than the current crop of politicians, but eventually that resource will run out.
     The project would be a joint New Mexico Texas project. The atomic plants power both the actual desalinization and pump the clean water to Elephant Butte Lake. Both New Mexico and West Texas Agriculture would thrive. Read full column