Director of Intent

July 1, 2009

Drinking the Desert, I of II

Growing up in southern New Mexico, I was (un)fortunate enough to witness the steady decline of water availability in a few different ways. Over time, trips to Elephant Butte Lake, the region's primary reservoir, would be characterized by noting how progressively lower the water level was as compared to the previous decade's water lines etched in the sandstone, even during years with significant runoff from the northern mountains. Even the namesake butte in the middle of the lake would look rather un-elephant like at times due to the water level.
As for the Rio Grande itself, I will never forget the day I took my wife, a native Oregonian, to the area I grew up in. When we came to a bridge over the river north of El Paso, she asked where the water was. Much to my chagrin, I looked down and saw nothing but damp sand. Granted, it was during a nasty drought in 2004, but still a sight I had never been privy to. Explaining the direct translation of "Rio Grande" was rather tough during the moments that followed.