An open letter to Tim Farmer, District VII manager, Office of the State Engineer:
Mr. Farmer, it appears that the legal notice (which ran in the Optic on Oct. 15) relative to digging three wells to dewater the track and athletic fields at the Mora Independent Schools is an exercise in futility, since three wells have already been dug and have been in use since at least June 2010, pumping 600 gallons of water per minute into the Mora River. This “after the fact” notice in the Optic is typical of governmental bureaucratic ineptness at work.
I have a copy of a June 22, 2012, letter from your office to Thomas Garcia, Mora superintendent, in which you requested the following information:
• The name and license number of the driller that completed the three dewatering wells.
• Well records for each of the three dewatering wells.
• Plans and specifications of the pumping system.
• The pumping capacity of each well and the capacity of the entire pumping system.
• The discharge permit.
Further, you ordered “cease and desist” of the pumping of all groundwater for any purpose from the said wells until a permit has been issued by the OSE.
I attended the July 2012 Mora school board meeting where I asked why no public meetings or hearings had been held to listen to concerns from Mora residents and taxpayers. Mr. Garcia did not respond.
As a property owner, I have six “ojitos” or natural springs, all showing that the water table has dropped. My irrigation ditches are also at an all-time low, or already dry, and the naturally swampy areas of my land have already dried up.
Water gathers in the location of the track field because it is in a depression, lower than the surrounding areas. The architect who designed it, and certainly Mora’s school officials and board, should have advised in the planning stages that the land needed to be filled in and raised, before beginning any construction. This was poor planning since the very beginning.
Because of the location problems, the water in question is surface water that floods the athletic fields (the adjoining baseball field has historically had similar problems) when people are irrigating, not from the acquifer, or water from 100 feet deep.
Draining the aquifer will also have serious and damaging results on the Mora Community Water System. These factors are apparently not considered before these wells were dug and began pumping.
Good water is going to the river. What a waste! It could be given (sold) to the nearby city of Las Vegas, which is proposing purchasing and transporting water from Santa Fe. To dump good water into the river to go to Texas doesn’t make sense. Or, more practically, the water could be diverted for small farmers and ranchers to use for irrigation.
The legal notice is, again, an “after the fact” attempt to show that proper steps were taken by the Mora Independent Schools to construct and use wells, that in reality are unnecessary and waste Mora’s water.