Got Water? Thank (and save) A Forest
Western water utilities know all too well the now famous phrase “stationarity is dead.” Planning for water security in the American West in the time of climate change requires getting ready for low- probability, high-risk impact events.
But can that awareness spur smart actions today? Will it lead to investment in the headwater forests that are the primary source of most of our water supply?
In New Mexico it did. The Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Authority recently made a $1 million investment in the headwaters of northern New Mexico. Those funds will be pooled with the money raised by the Rio Grande Water Fund for forest restoration.
And in Arizona, when you ask Paul Summerfelt, the head of Flagstaff’s Wildland Fire Management Division, what led the City’s voters to pass – by 74% – the historic $10 million bond measure to fund the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project, he’ll respond, “If we talk utility infrastructure and water – we need to look at the source as important as anything. The forest we don’t own is our infrastructure.”
These two leaders in the Carpe Diem West Network know all too much the value of water. In a recent Op-Ed published in Water Online they discuss what they have learned and why forest restoration efforts are essential.
March 29, 2018
Photo Credit: Larry Lamsa