Out of Storage Capacity

The Great New Mexico Drought is cracked. Not broken, mind you, just cracked. Here in this marvelous little microclimate called “The East Mountains” (the east side of the mountains east of Albuquerque; actually the Sandias, Manzanitos and Manzanos), and especially in this valley between Raven Road, Kuhn Road, Skyland Boulevard and the Isleta Reservation, the rains have come and come and come. In the last three weeks, more than six inches of rain (and hail and sleet!) have fallen. The crunchy grasses and crackling pine needles have grown soft. Green of every shade has sprung from the plants and the ground itself, and all things with roots are rejoicing.

I’m not sure how long it takes to rehydrate the cores of thick ponderosa trunks (they were only 25% of what they should have been in interior moisture – Roman candles awaiting ignition), but they have got to be on their way. Most of this water has soaked into the ground very quickly after each rain, bathing their roots.

Only in the last few days have puddles started to persist and real mud begun to develop. The dry creeks along the bottom of our valley have been running for days. Both are indicators that water is even headed down toward the stressed aquifers through every crack and fracture in our geology. Saved wells!

Alas the BIG drought – the shortfalls of 40% per year for the last six years - the reservoirs at 15% of normal depths, the rivers that have become isolated puddles full of dying creatures – is not broken. It will take several years of above-average precipitation to break this jackal’s back.

But thank God, thank heavens, thank Nature, thank The Rain Turtle for this mid summer respite.

Now to the title: All of my cisterns have been full for over a week. Four big tanks with a capacity of 5000 gallons, full to overflowing. If I had 10,000 gallons capacity, it would be overflowing. It seemed ridiculous in 2002 to install that many tanks, but now I know. One must build for the extraordinary, old knowledge that must be relearned so often that we all look foolish.

But what a blessing is this rain.


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