I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
NM’s man in Washington tells Journal how world of water has changed
The Journal’s John Fleck has a story today about the world of water, specifically at the federal Bureau of Reclamation, and how it has changed from decades past. Fleck interviewed Michael Connor, the new head of the Bureau of Reclamation, and the result is a great read.
Fleck’s story whets my appetite to learn more about water policy. I know the basics, thanks to what I’ve read in Cadillac Desert, a passing interest in the complex problems around the San Joaquin River Delta in California and the news stories related to water policy I’ve read over the years. (I lived near the Delta for a couple of years in the 1990s).
The opportunity to write about the Bureau of Reclamation arose when Fleck sat down last week with Michael Connor, the new head of the Bureau of Reclamation. Fleck’s story shows a reflective Connor, a man who appears cognizant of the agency he is heading and the history that shaped it.
Here’s an excerpt from Fleck’s story:
More than perhaps any other government agency, Reclamation shaped the West. The great dam builder of the 20th century, it is the agency behind Hoover and Glen Canyon dams.
Those days are gone, Connor said in a recent interview. “There was a lot of good,” he said, “and there was a lot of bad.”
In all, Reclamation has 472 dams, Connor noted in a talk Friday at the University of New Mexico School of Law. It is the nation’s largest water wholesaler, serving 31 million people. Sixty percent of the nation’s vegetables and 25 percent of its fruit and nuts are grown with Reclamation water, Connor said.
And yet it is a troubled empire.
One can see proof of that last line in the bureau’s decision here and there to dismantle dams built decades ago.
As a native Southerner, I didn’t understand the importance of water until I moved to California in the 1990s. Living in New Mexico has reinforced my sense that water likely is one of the top, if not the top, issue before officials in the Southwest and West.
Which is why I love to see stories like Fleck’s.