• Cistern-Rebate Program Begins in Santa Fe

    On January 1, the city started a program that pays 25 cents for every gallon of cistern that you install (or have installed) on a piece of land.

    For more info, please check either the City of Santa Fe's website or my column (below)which appeared in the December 09 issue of the Santa Fe Real Estate Guide. (Please note the spending question I raise at the end.)

    "Water, NOT Space, Is the Next Frontier"

    Like a mythical centaur (half human head, half horse ass), last October NASA’s Centaur rammed the backside of the Moon on a mission to extract water from the heavens. Houston, we have a problem. When nearly one billion earthlings lack clean water supplies, what God-fearing nation would spend a dime on crushed ice for a few astronauts?
    What if more tax dollars were spent on down-to-earth programs like Dan Ransom’s? As water conservation director for Sangre de Cristo Water Company, Ransom recently developed a simple rebate program designed to encourage the installation of cisterns throughout Santa Fe. Picture the city’s bygone rain-barrel program on growth hormones.
    Officially launching on January 1, 2010, the program allows water company customers to get cash back for purchasing roof water storage containers. The difference this time is that size matters: As the volume of the cistern increases, so does the rebate. Depending on their capacity, rain barrels will earn between $12 and $50, but real money comes into play for tanks larger than 299 gallons, which the city will consider to be cisterns as opposed to mere rain barrels. At 25 cents per gallon, a 1,000 gallon roof-water storage system reels in $250, and a 10,000 gallon system nets $2,500 in rebate money. “It’s not meant to be a reward,” Ransom said in a recent phone interview. “We see the program creating a real incentive for increasing water-storage capacity for customers in the market for rainwater collection systems.”
    Although Ransom has taken great pains to keep the program simple, one important exception complicates matters. To get a rebate, your tank can’t automatically receive makeup water from the city system. When your cistern is empty, you can water your landscape with a hose or a separate irrigation system. You can install a switching system connected to city water that completely by-passes the cistern. You can even add city water to your tank manually. But you can’t do what most do in the water-harvesting industry.
    In most systems, a small amount of makeup water automatically drops into a cistern when a float switch tells a valve to release auxiliary water. The valve shuts off when the float indicates that a sufficient amount of water (usually enough for a few days) has entered the tank. “I’ve seen a lot of floats fail,” Ransom lamented. “And it would kind of defeat the purpose of increasing storage capacity if we gave out money to people who just filled up that same extra capacity with city water.”
    Often clouded by politics, greed, fear, and myth, water issues are a murky bunch, but one thing is clear: We should support imperfect programs like locally-focused cistern rebates, while we end our very expensive plans to harvest water from the shadow of the Moon. Will we rise and climb toward a higher level of moral consciousness, or will we fall and crawl into the future, seriously damaged by our love affair with Captain Kirk and our currently wasteful and misdirected “quest for knowledge.” (END of COLUMN)


    What do you think about spending tax dollars to look for water in space?


Leave a Reply

The final frontier.

These are the musings of an engaging enterprise.
Its thirty-year mission:

To create a greener planet.

To seek a better life in our lumbering civilization, and

to slowly go where we are all are headed anyway.


Is an unproven system for generating wide-spread sustainability.

it asks for 10 minutes a day for a year. At the end of the year, it asks for 10 more.

So in the second year, you spend just 20 minutes a day, in the third year, 30 minutes.

If you keep up this pattern, 27 years later you spend over 4 hours per day being extremely green.

Share Here!
Describe your attempts At a sustainable life.