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Posts Tagged ‘Carlsbad’

Water Wars


This outlines the local situation reasonably well. A few of the early settlers here (fin d’ siecle) were farseeing and nailed down senior water rights for Carlsbad, which continues to be pretty strong in this department. As the droughts continue and temperatures rise a bit, surface water storage is going to become even less effective and it’s going to become increasingly obvious that water is best stored underground.

The dissent is as always about the flow of the Pecos and how much it’s affected by pumping. But this dissent links directly into above-ground storage. Ultimately people in the region should recognize that they are fighting the wrong battle and should address pumping overall, not the flow of the Pecos specifically, but that would mean fighting water rights that are over 100 years old.

Meanwhile what will probably happen is the mining companies will buy up the land with water rights as the drought continues and farming will suffer a severe setback in the region, which is likely a good idea, except that at least with farming, the water is given back in some manner – mining tends to pollute and even sequester it. 


Plant A Tree, Go To Jail

The City Council of Carlsbad, New Mexico, on the advice of the city managerial staff; just passed an ordinance instituting stage I water restrictions automatically from April 1 through September 30 of each year. This involves limiting outdoor watering to three days a week, between six p.m. and ten a.m. It also allows bucket watering on the alternate days, but not sprinkler or hose or other water systems. You can be fined up to I think $500 or be jailed for 90 days if you are caught flouting these laws.

Unfortunately, stage I water restrictions also prohibit the planting of lawn, trees or shrubs, and April is when people plant around here. I could understand the City forbidding planting after April, because it starts getting hot fast, but April really is the month to do it, so they have to a great extent just outlawed landscaping. I’ve seen it get down to 15 degrees in March.

I can just imagine all those rich people at the north end of town being told they are forbidden to plant lawn, trees or shrubs in April or May. It will also be interesting to see how the distinction between “shrub” and, say, “herb” is determined.

Of course, if it never rains again, this will all be moot, but all we need is one good rainy year and there will be a revolt of gardeners. Meanwhile I guess people get to learn about container gardening now, which isn’t a bad idea anyway.

In the same measure, they also raised the cost of purchase of city water by industrial users (to use or resell outside city limits) to a little over $20 per 1000 gallons. Considering that municipal users are charged about 1/20th of that, one wonders just how much our water restrictions are due to selling municipal water to the oil and gas companies at municipal rates.

I would think it more sensible to tell everybody “You get x amount of water per household member, and x amount of water per 100 square feet of unimproved land, and you can use it however you want, but if you go over that your rates go up to industrial rates for the overage.” That would make them money; this will cost them a lot of trouble to enforce. How do you enforce it with fenced yards, or ones with obstructing landscaping?

Oh, and let’s not forget that our Mayor was going around earlier this year suggesting that what this town really needs is to double its population.

Strong rain predictions here from tonight through Thursday morning. (In honor of the water restrictions?) Not clear to me that they are going to start this until April, though. Unless the wells go down far enough, which could happen too. We could still get a monsoon, though probably not a strong one.


DOE Looking at Carlsbad WIPP for Plutonium Disposal

WIPP site being considered for DOE plutonium disposal

CARLSBAD — The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad is being eyed as a potential site for the disposal of surplus plutonium by the Department of Energy.

The material represents approximately 13 metric tons (MT) of surplus plutonium, including about 7 MT from retired nuclear weapons and 6 MT of non-pit plutonium. A “pit” is the plutonium core of a nuclear weapon, while “non-pit” plutonium comprises plutonium oxides or metals that existed when the Cold War ended.

The material under consideration for potential disposal at the WIPP facility is 6 MT of surplus non-pit plutonium to be moved from the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. It could be disposed of as transuranic (TRU) waste at WIPP in the same way other TRU waste is disposed of currently.

They’re talking 7-10 years from now. I suspected this kind of thing was likely to happen, and more would not surprise me.


More Ways To Handle Impending Financial Pressure

Woman stored husband in freezer until her death, investigators learn

This breaking (!) story so far is about how a woman living south of town (Carlsbad, New Mexico) recently died, in her 60’s, after telling somebody she had her husband in her freezer, which apparently was in her bedroom. She was not believed at the time, as she was in grave condition.

Cleaners then later found a body in the freezer, which they at first thought was some sort of animal (some other sort of animal presumably).

The husband mysteriously disappeared in 1997, and was ill at the time, and in his 70’s.

The more recently deceased left a note saying she was sorry about this, but she couldn’t make it without his retirement income.

If that guy died of natural causes, this is so incredibly sad, as well as extremely weird. In the bedroom? (with the freezer.)

What else was in the freezer? Was it locked? Didn’t anybody think this was a little strange?


New Kid In Town

Solar, wind energy company coming to city


Carlsbad Current Argus

With the stroke of a pen Tuesday, the president of Sac-Tec Labs of California signed a lease agreement to take over a 25,000-square-foot commercial space to house a development and manufacturing facility in downtown Carlsbad.

Bob Kunesh said the company is poised to produce a new generation of mobile solar and wind-driven power generating systems. The company’s solar products division, SacTec-Solar, will manufacture portable power generating units that employ high-energy solar components, solar-charged batteries and power generation and conversion systems, he said.

“The persistence of a few people has captured our enthusiasm to see what we can do here in Carlsbad,” said Kunesh, whose Torrance, Calif.-based company has been exploring opportunities for expansion in New Mexico.

Fascinating. This is geared towards the military to some extent, perhaps to a great extent, unsurprisingly. The company’s website is here; they seem to be mostly about microelectronics for aerospace operations. I wonder who owns them.

This site indicates that

Sac-Tec Lab is a private company categorized under Semiconductor Devices Manufacturers and located in Torrance, CA. Our records show it was established in 1991 and incorporated in California. Current estimates show this company has an annual revenue of $5 to 10 million and employs a staff of approximately 10 to 19.

Don’t know how old that listing is, though.


Life in Little Texas

This is a crosspost mix from this on La Vida Locavore.

First, the Photos!

Some images from my place, taken between last winter and this July.

April iris at dawn

April iris at dawn

Jumping spider

Jumping spider on porch

New Mexico sky

Summer sky

Another heirloom reseed


Cement sculpture and mesquite

Concrete grasshopper and mesquite

Rainbow in the 'hood

Rainbow in the ‘hood.

Neighbor's house


Dawn with trellis

Porch at dawn

Dawn trees #2


Sunrise through Sophora

Sunrise through Sophora


Carlsbad, New Mexico; has a lot of potential for being a really nice place, peeling paint, rampant random vegetative growth and all.

Our biggest risk for demolition is not urban sprawl, though. More like the oil and gas corporations coming around with their mineral rights to the land our homes are on, and mining us out of them.

They can do that. I’ve read my deed. (Of course I’ve read my deed; I read everything that’s in front of me.)

Very few people around here own the mineral rights to the land their homes are on.

Several years back, they were mining a few miles south of where I live, where I took these photos – I think it was just into the unincorporated area. They lost control of the well and about 700 people were evacuated for three days. They did not, we will note, get to take their livestock.

Fortunately, the oil and gas corporation people got control of the well before it caught fire, or otherwise exploded.

Just to put things into perspective, the incorporated area (Carlsbad proper) is about 16 square miles; i.e. I can bicycle across it in about half an hour.

I could go on and on about the craziness down here. Like the old I&W brine well that’s right at the forks of Interstates 180 and 285; that is quite possibly going to suddenly collapse one of these days, taking down the 18 wheeler straw that broke the camel’s back, the feed store in the adjacent lot, possibly the nearby elementary school, and various and sundry residences. And maybe even the Wal-mart.

Lest that sound overly catastrophic-minded of me, let’s not forget that this is a high-karst region, and that this particular locale is not too far from the tail end of an especially high-karst arc (the Guadalupe Ridge) that includes some of the most extensive cave formations in the country (including Carlsbad Cavern). Dark Canyon Draw is what you get next, and if one extrapolates geographically; it’s in the mode.

And no, I’m not a geologist, but I know geologists, and cavers too; and Dark Canyon Draw is considered of great interest to such. And it runs right into 285; in fact 285 bridges over it.

Back at the Y, about a mile south of the Draw on 285; sensors have been installed to keep the travelers safe from any potential brine well collapse. Oh, good.

They are hoping people will forget about this.

It was a BIG story down here for awhile, and then everybody forgot about it.

Microcosm of America.