NEW WORLD WATER Life on planet Earth has managed to survive by means of water. All life is brought into existence on Earth through the life giving energy of water. The water cycle is what continually churns the cycle of energy and provides the resources that sustain us all. Humanity must realize the importance of protecting and preserving the natural qualities of the water cycle. We must work to maintain the purity of water in terms of the Earths health as we re-think our own personal consumption and waste-full misuse of water. In the high desert of Northern New Mexico and the mountainous regions of the Sangre de Cristos, there is a delicate balance between water and survival for all species. The co-existence of plants, animals and all other organisms within the ebb and flow of the water cycle is dependant on the availability of a clean water source. Natural Cycles Water is the only molecule that can exist in every natural state; liquid, solid, gas and vapor. The special polar nature of a water molecule provides a unique environment for life to thrive and diversify into what we now experience. We are blessed with a relatively abundant supply of water in this region compared to most of the high desert plateau regions of the world. There is a distinct pattern of water flow dynamics within the landscape of the Northern New Mexico. Water travels from the high mountains down to the watershed and on to lowland Bosque wetlands as it descends in altitude. The bio-geographical distribution of animals and plants follows the trends of resource availability: varying with temperature, altitude and latitudinal changes. As we observe the patterns of collective groupings of plant and animal communities within a distinct inter-dependant relationship with the sacred lay of the land, we begin to notice the role of humanity when is comes to water. Humans have the most dramatic effect on the balance and use of water within a natural ecosystem. The change in allocation of water due to human use is far more influential than any other source of change in the environment. This can be measured by the environmental disturbance that is a direct product of the human ecological footprint. Culture There is a strong culture behind the structured use and distribution of water in Northern New Mexico. The longtime collaboration with water in agriculture by Native peoples and the more recent use of water by Spanish and Anglo cultures continue to influence the way in which we honor and protect water in current day Northern New Mexico. Agriculture, ranching and personal use dominates the common uses of water in this bio-region and current technologies allow people to increase the efficiency at which we grow food through a variety of ways including storing, catching and charging the aquifer. However there are always ways that we can improve our consciousness when it comes to the use and perpetuation of clean water. For the next generation to truly appreciate and be aware of the value of clean abundant water, the elders must educate and instill the worth of water in all the forms of life. Many of the myths and stories told by the ancestors of this land tell of feast and famine depending on the precipitation. Our livelihood depended on whether or not the rain would water the crops, fill the rivers and allow the animals to drink. Of the Earth and for the Earth, the water provided by the spirits only comes when we honor and hold ceremony for the blessings bestowed upon the land for food, water and shelter. During periods of life when technology and scientific advancement weren’t the only tools we used for the health and wealth of our families, we trusted the Earth and knew that although not predictable, the rain would come. There is a compromise between old traditions and the new ways of life that are embraced by the youth of our communities. The way in which each individual perceives its environment will lead up to the lifestyle choices that are made. All choices must be looked at in terms of the health and diversity of all life not just humanity. To go around believing that humans are more important than other forms of life that depend on water is beyond understanding. Especially considering that we are reliant on a healthy planet for the future of our own children. The ways at which we have been looking at Earth are dramatically evolving as the general public in this nation begin to realize that we are using earth rather that mutually living in harmony with the blessings of Earth. By utilizing specific agricultural, domestic and civil practices that use less water and return clean water back into the system, we can assure ourselves that there will be clean water for the present day into the future. The basic premise of the water cycle ensures that whatever we put into the cycle works itself through with ardent strength and if not natural, there is the possibility of damaging the entire nature of this planet. Everything un-natural is magnified and accumulates to the point of danger for the environment. This is why we are seeing disorder and unpredictability within the weather and many other natural cycles. Water Consumption The capacity of water to nourish and do work is immense. Holding water in any one of the states of matter can lead into the release of the energy as the capacity of water to do work is vital for the ongoing life on Earth. Irrigated agriculture accounts for 78% of the total water withdrawals in the state of New Mexico. Over half of this 78% is used primarily for livestock and recreational animal foodstuff. Irrigated agriculture and domesticated animals have a long history in New Mexico with a variety of detrimental and permanent effects. Take for example the number of evasive exotic species that have spread as a result of mis-managed grazing land and the use of cattle in our diet. The consumptive irrigation requirements and grazing practices of ranchers are at the very least questionable and un-necessary. There is a series of wholistic range management techniques that allows the land to heal after livestock grazing and should be required for all cattle and ranching operations. Limited in quantity and some areas by quality, water is a primary factor in determining the future growth of New Mexico. We must provide decision makers with the most comprehensive, current and useful water use data so that informed decisions can be made to insure the conservation and wise use of the state’s water resources. Residential water use is comprised of two components indoor use and outdoor use of water. It has been concluded in water use studies that the amount of water use depends more on lifestyle than family size or age. The importance of sacrificing comfort for the future of our planet is the underlying necessity of our socio-political modality and seems to be the only way to slow global catastrophe and demise. Water conservation is defined as any beneficial reduction in water use or water losses. The demand for water utilities is increasing every day in Taos County, as the development and construction industries are well out of hand and have been for quiet a long time. Many of us locally raised New Mexicans can barely recognize the land as the influx of people has led to a loss of traditional agrarian lifestyle and is tearing apart the matrix of respect, integrity and interconnectivity with the land, water, air, and fire. The time is now to implement a public re-education program, and require that building codes that are effective in reducing the average daily use in our community. All of these measures may reduce the local demand and may add years to the life of aquifers that are being mined, reduce the cost of wastewater treatment, save energy, postpone or eliminate the expansion of water treatment and distribution systems, and decrease the volume of wastewater discharged into rivers and streams. Within the Flow The procedures and human dealings with water in the last 200 years are mind-boggling. Our exhaustive consumption and creation of an ethno-centered mindset around water has resulted in more challenges that we try to solve with more technology that wastes more water, all in the process of trying to save the environment. The solution is not found in another program to save water but rather the solution lies in our own individual ability to value and commit to the earth and the elements that allow our families and communities to thrive. The techniques are simple: mimic the earth, be the plant that sends roots down, absorbing water, gathering life force and letting go of water in another form so that it can continue on to another being giving life. If there is any place and people that can be guides for the rest of society let this be the place, Taos New Mexico.