Search for New Water Goes Deep
Sandoval County embarked on drilling deep wells in hopes of finding a solid 100-year water supply for Rio West, a proposed 12,000-acre development west of Rio Rancho that could provide housing and jobs. (...)
Read the whole thing but I'm gonna stop right there and question the undertaking. Why develop a project that far away from existing jobs and housing? Despite history and bare facts to the contrary, it is because speculative real estate investment is somehow assumed to be a good thing. Land "development" consisting of nothing more than dividing it into smaller pieces and reselling it is taken for granted as being part of a process that has merit. Real estate flipping is not economic development. But as this has escaped the knowledge of the State Legislature for many years, it is perhaps understandable that Sandoval County should subsidize this water venture to the tune of $4.3 million.
(...) The Rio West development needs an estimated 18,000 acre-feet of water for the 30,000 homes and industrial park envisioned, Springfield said. (One acre-foot equals 325,851 gallons or roughly the amount of water needed to cover one acre a foot deep.) One option was to buy surface water or groundwater rights within the upper aquifer and transfer those rights to the development's wells, an expensive proposition at $15,000 to $30,000 an acre-foot.
The other option was to hunt for brackish, nonpotable water and treat it to drinking water standards. Springfield said, ``We determined that was the most cost-effective was treating brackish water.'' (sic) The cost of treating the water will be determined by the size of the treatment plant and the amount of water pumped annually, said Springfield, who did not give estimates.
As real estate kool aid you can barely taste the brackish water.