Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Water Availability and Usage on the New Mexico/Mexico Border

Academic journal article Journal of Environmental Health

Water Availability and Usage on the New Mexico/Mexico Border

Article excerpt

* Numerous critical water issues exist along the New Mexico/Mexico border.

* The region is either arid or semiarid, so it is chronically short of surface-water resources.

* Statewide, the annual average precipitation is much less than the amount lost to evaporation from open water surfaces.

* The region also has an extremely fast-growing population.

* Most surface-water resources are used to the maximum.

* Groundwater resources are used beyond their capacity to be naturally recharged.

* The quality of groundwater varies widely.

* Water in some areas is too salty or has high levels of natural uranium, fluoride, or arsenic.

* To date, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) has recognized 1,400 cases of groundwater contamination.

* 1,907 water supply wells have been affected.

* Shallow water depth and a high poverty rate in southern New Mexico mean that low-income families without access to municipal water systems frequently obtain cheap water via hand-dug wells.

* The primary concern with drinking-water quality is bacteriological contamination.

* There is a small but increasing amount of chemical or nitrate contamination, as well as contamination from fluoride, drugs, parasites and viruses, uranium, radon, and arsenic.

* The situation is exacerbated by pollution generated by industrial zones, agricultural runoff, and wastes emitted by borderland boom towns. …

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