Cover, Mar. 19: “Top 10 Water Guzzlers!”
THROW IN TOWEL
Despite all the signs and policies, I have found that “Reuse Your Towel” plans in hotels mostly do not work. As Marie Jonsson pointed out in your article, there are often insufficient hooks or bars to actually hang a towel on to dry. The other problem is that the service staff mostly ignore the policy and exchange your towels anyway. Consider that the service staff has no real motivation to leave your towels in place. They will get in much more trouble for not replacing a damp towel than they will for replacing a towel that someone wanted to reuse. After much frustration with this while traveling, I finally arrived at the perfect solution that allows me to reuse my towel: I decline all cleaning service with a Do Not Disturb sign.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS
The annual Top 10 Water Guzzlers report is on my top 10 list of the most upsetting articles of the year! I can’t believe the arrogance of those on the list. I find it equally apalling that the City of Santa Fe sanctions poor property management by forgiving such huge leaks. There should be a limit to what the city forgives. The idea that someone is fully forgiven of such huge leaks because they “weren’t here that much” is ridiculous. If you are “not here that much” to tend to your property, you shouldn’t be given a full credit for your water leaks due to your ignorance.
DROP IN THE BUCKET
Thank you for printing the top 10 residential and commercial water users. Water conservation is important in a semi-desert, which is why I am baffled at the silence over the city having dumped the entire contents of Nichols Reservoir last year and their plan to do the same with McClure Reservoir this year. Their respective capacities are 684 acre-feet and 3,255 acre-feet.
The City Council decided it under Mayor Coss, who wanted to relive his childhood with a running river. It seems everyone bought the idea that the water wouldn’t be wasted, but in fact it is. Hardly any makes it to the water table before it dries again.
Officially, these massive water dumpings are to allow for automating controls within a concrete tower in each reservoir in order to relieve two city employees of the terrible inconvenience of having occasionally to row a boat to the towers to make adjustments. All the frightened council had to hear was the magic word, “safety,” for them to capitulate, and someone gets a nice contract out of it.
The council did not demonstrate the need, and their plan is wasteful and imprudent and makes a mockery of our water-saving efforts. I’m not criticizing you for highlighting wasteful use by private citizens, but how about shining a light on the elephant in the room, brought by our official resource stewards, our elected representatives? Otherwise, let’s not cry too hard this year or next about a drought.
40th, Mar. 19: “The Big Water Decision”
Your reprint of the article written the first time voters were promised lower water rates if they would approve buying the water company from PNM was very timely. Advocates of buying Santa Fe’s electrical grid from PNM now promise lower electricity rates, as well as greater use of renewable energy.
One important difference between the two purchases is that the city finally bought the water company only after PNM announced its intention to sell its water division to someone.PNM has not indicated that it wants to sell Santa Fe’s electrical grid, so condemnation and litigation costs must be considered when projecting electricity rates under city ownership. The lower rates projected in the recent study arranged by New Energy Economy are based on the assumption that condemnation will not be necessary.
If the city wants to consider buying its electrical grid, it should first make its own study of the purchase, based on an RFP drafted by city staff with the city’s interests in mind. Just as the city would be foolish to rely on a study guided by PNM, it should not rely on a study guided by a company in the business of promoting renewable energy.
Up, Up and Away
Thanks for reminding people of the broken promises made prior to the acquisition of the water company.
Acquiring that company was a good idea for many reasons, but in their zeal to have the voters approve this purchase, many of its advocates distorted the potential benefits and drawbacks.
No one who was knowledgeable about water really expected water rates to go anywhere but up, given the state of the water infrastructure, the need for more supply and the use of water rates to promote conservation. And those were only the anticipated problems.
Those promoting a city-owned electric utility would do well to take a lesson from this experience. They need to be open and honest about the realities of such a venture.
If the city is going to try to pursue this, they need to have a thorough and unbiased study done of all the potential costs and benefits, including the costs of litigation with PNM.
The people of Santa Fe may decide, as they did with the water company, that this idea is worth pursuing, but they need to be given an honest picture of what this entails, so they can make an informed decision (and it should be the people’s decision).
Food, Mar. 19: “Pizza Party!”
Kudos to JP Stupfel for the article on Pizza, Etc. Sergio and Gabby Baray not only serve the best pizza in town, they are the hardest working and friendliest business owners in Santa Fe.
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