How has land use in the past compare to how it’s being used now in the watershed?
Then VS Now
How do people “use a watershed”?
Water has many uses; like when you take a shower or brush your teeth you use it for hygene. Water is also used for cooking, sewage, and even energy and material production. The average household uses about 800-1,000 kw hours per month. Did you know that it takes 18 gallons of water to produce 1kw hour of electricity? That’s a lot of water! and it all affects our local watersheds. Unfortunately, water on the surface and from underground reservoirs don’t get refilled at the rate that they are used, and if you like to brush your teeth, you’ll hope that water keeps flowing. This is why it is so important that the watersheds we use keep flowing clean water in them.
Of course, people did not always have electricity, but they still used the watersheds. Instead of industry there were communities. It was important to have a social order around water consumption, like the mayordomo system which helped everyone get a fair amount of water. Now, our office of State Engineers is in charge of who gets water and when. Surface water in natural streams and sources are promised to the public thanks to Article 16 of the New Mexico constitution which declares that all streams perennial or torrential, meaning seasonal or constant flowing, belong to the people. As of the late 1800’s industry has taken off. See the chart below to watch how energy production has changed from 1776-2012. Notice the types of fuel: wood, coal, petroleum, natural gas, nuclear, renewables and hydro.