Nature Center: Los Alamos County Department Of Public Utilities Presents Water Is Life 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Jack Richardson shares the story of water Tuesday evening at the Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

Jen Pelz discusses vertical challenges to water storage in the Rio Grande watershed Tuesday evening at the Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is bringing four speakers and a film to the Los Alamos Nature Center 6:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4.

The evening starts with a discussion about local rivers and water issues by four speakers followed by a break with refreshments and a chance to meet the speakers. Afterward, they will show the documentary Beyond the Mirage: The Future of Water in the West. This event is free.

Norm Gaume sheds light on water allocations for the Rio Grande Tuesday evening at the Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

The Talks:

 

  • Where the water we use in Los Alamos comes from, with some thoughts on a sustainable future by Jack Richardson, deputy utilities manager – Gas, Water, Sewer (GWS) for Los Alamos County.
  • The End of the Dam-building Era in the Western US by Steve Harris, executive director of Rio Grande Restoration.
  • Rethinking the Rio: the opportunity and challenge of moving low-elevation storage from Elephant Butte to high-elevation reservoirs on the Rio Chama to conserve water from evaporation and restore flows to an ailing river by Jen Pelz, Wild Rivers program director at WildEarth Guardians
  • Paths to compliance with the Rio Grande Compact’s three apportionments of the waters of the Rio Grande: above Otowi, from Otowi to Elephant Butte Dam, and below Elephant Butte Dam, with a brief discussion of the Gila River diversion and storage project by Norm Guam, retired water resources engineer, manager, and planner, former director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (1997-2002), water resources manager for the City of Albuquerque (1990-1997), and water resources consultant (1974-1978 and 2003 -2012).

The movie:

Beyond the Mirage: The Future of Water in the West is a 2016 documentary put together by the University of Arizona about water issues in the Southwest. What is the story of your water? Where did it come from before it reached your faucet? How abundant is it? This film tells the story of water in the southwest and the extreme lengths we go to make sure clean water comes out of our tap, when we want, and as much of it as we want. Interviews from water experts reveal the reliability and challenges to this on-demand system, uncovering the story of our drinking water and the importance of this fundamental resource.

The Speakers:

 

  •  Jack Richardson, the Deputy Utilities manager – Gas, Water, Sewer (GWS) for Los Alamos County, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the field crew’s natural gas and water distribution, water production, non-potable water and wastewater collection & treatment activities. He graduated from NMSU in 1980 and has lived and worked since then throughout the west in water related utilities engineering for both private firms and public agencies. He grew up paddling and rafting the rivers in the tri-state area of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia before moving out west and spending as much time as possible time on the rivers and reservoirs in the west.
  • Steve Harris is executive director of Rio Grande Restoration, a non-profit river conservation group dedicated to protection of the ecological and economic values provided by the Rio Grande. In this capacity he writes, speaks and advocates for the resolution of river issues, especially policies to protect flowing water. He has participated in river restoration projects, such as the Middle Rio Grande Endangered Species Collaborative Program, in public policy forums, such as regional water planning and presently manages the Rio Chama Flow Project. He is also, since 1976, the owner of the river touring company Far-Flung Adventures, which has introduced thousands of persons to the Rio Grande.
  • Jen Pelz is the Wild Rivers program director at WildEarth Guardians where she strives to breath new life into the endangered rivers of the West. She is a lawyer and practiced water law in Colorado for nearly a decade. She received her B.A. in Field Biology from the University of Northern Colorado in 1998 and her J.D. and Certificate of Environmental and Natural Resource Law from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2002. Jen’s love for the Rio Grande and her activism started 40 years ago on the banks of the Conejos River in southern Colorado. WildEarth Guardians is a regional non-profit working to protect the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.
  • Norm Gaume is a retired water resources engineer, manager, and planner, former director of the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission (1997-2002), Water Resources Manager for the City of Albuquerque (1990-1997), and water resources consultant (1974-1978 and 2003 -2012). He also is an avid rafter and whitewater canoeist. received the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government 2016 Dixon citizen award for his “relentless” use of state transparency laws “to shine a light on controversial decisions by the government to divert the Gila River.”

This program, made possible by the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, will take place at the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road. It is free to attend, and no registration is required. For more information about this and other Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) programs, visit www.peecnature.org, email programs@peecnature.org or call (505) 662-0460.

PEEC was founded in 2000 to serve the community of Los Alamos. It offers people of all ages a way to enrich their lives by strengthening their connections to our canyons, mesas, mountains, and skies. PEEC operates the Los Alamos Nature Center at 2600 Canyon Road, holds regular programs and events, and hosts a number of interest groups from birding to hiking to butterfly watching. PEEC activities are open to everyone; however, members receive exclusive benefits such as discounts on programs and merchandise. Annual memberships start at $35. To learn more, visit www.peecnature.org.

Steve Harris reveals the ecological importance of flowing water Tuesday at the Nature Center. Courtesy/PEEC

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