After viewing my post on GMDs, a good friend from the Land of Enchantment sent me these comments from a stakeholder who has agreed to share her/his data with the Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network (CGMN) of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources' (NMBGMR) Aquifer Mapping Program (AMP):
I could talk all day about this topic, but I'll try to be brief and to the point:
Water consumption will increase as long as populations and development increase, but water resources are finite. It is inevitable that demand will exceed supply at some point. To approach and manage that point in a sensible and equitable manner will require reliable data. Long term data collection is needed to establish a historical baseline and emerging trends. We are participating because we want reliable data to show the trends for our aquifer.
Benefits of participating lie in the future. At this point we are gathering data to establish a baseline of the aquifer levels. That will enable us to quantify and sensibly manage aquifer declines of the future.
To convince others to participate, I would point out:
Legal and engineering decisions are based on data, not opinions or emotions. A person needs hard data to protect their water rights.
Good data will indicate when it's necessary to invest in a legal battle and when it isn't. These battles are costly, so it is advisable to pick your battles wisely. That requires data.
Sharing the data will help others make informed decisions.
Sharing the data is a constructive way to participate in the management of the aquifer.
Sharing the data establishes a person's good intentions. Legal institutions do not favor obstructionists.
This is an enlightened attitude, whether it comes from a stakeholder or someone else. As noted by John Fleck, New Mexico water use peaked in 1995 and has been declining ever since.
One reason stakeholders are willing to share groundwater data with the Bureau is that NMBGMR is a research and service organization affiliated with New Mexico Tech, and located not in the state capital Santa Fe, but about 150 miles away in the small town of Socorro. It is thus not viewed with a jaundiced eye, as would the Office of the State Engineer (OSE) if it had tried to implement such a program.
I had not been aware of the AMP and its CGMN. It sounds like something we should be doing here in Oregon and other states as well.
Here is info on the CGMN from its web page:
The Aquifer Mapping Program at New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR), with funding from Healy Foundation, is developing a statewide Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network for New Mexico. This voluntary Network will gather new and existing data on groundwater levels to help us understand how our state's groundwater resources are changing through time, promote increased awareness of water issues around New Mexico, and provide an important foundation for making informed water-management decisions.
Data in the Network will supplement the groundwater level monitoring efforts already underway, fill data gaps in regions of the state with limited data, fill a need for more frequent measurements, and aid in aquifer mapping efforts.
There are two ways to volunteer: (1) through data sharing or (2) well sharing:
- Data sharing is available to well owners, water systems and small monitoring networks that are willing to collect accurate water levels or are already doing so and would like to provide those measurements to the Network. This can be done through the Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network Data Portal, or by providing paper records to NMBGMR. In some instances, NMBGMR will be available to meet with data collaborators to provide training. Training for water systems will be available in conjunction with the New Mexico Rural Water Association (NMRWA).
- The well sharing option is available to wells within priority areas that can be equipped with continuous monitoring equipment or monitored manually. To determine if a well would be appropriate for well sharing please contact Sara Chudnoff with the NMBGMR (see below).
Data from the Collaborative Groundwater Monitoring Network may be made publicly available through the our map portal, but no proprietary or personal information — like names, addresses, or phone numbers — will be shared via the portal. Data from specific wells will be processed to show regional trends of water level changes through time due to seasonal fluctuations, effects from pumping, or groundwater changes due to land use modifications or climate change.
In arid New Mexico, we need all the information we can get on our limited groundwater resources. Help New Mexicans be a more informed about water — our most precious resource.
Contact us for more information!
We should be doing this in Oregon.
Might have to retire General Wallace's infamous quote about my former home state.
"Every calculation, based on experience elsewhere, fails in New Mexico." -- former Territorial Governor Lew Wallace, 1878