Lush and Lean part 3: Time to rethink stormwater

Lush and Lean part 3: Time to rethink stormwater

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Editor’s note: This is the third of an 11-part series detailing Las Cruces Utilities’ 11-week Lush and Lean workshops educating citizens how to maintain a garden while being conscientious of water usage.

Water harvesting, stream restoration, and erosion specialist, Van Clothier will be the speaker at the Thursday, March 9th Lush and Lean presentation, hosted by Las Cruces Utilities. Photo by Suzanne Michaels.
Water harvesting, stream restoration, and erosion specialist, Van Clothier will be the speaker at the Thursday, March 9th Lush and Lean presentation, hosted by Las Cruces Utilities. Courtesy photo.

By SUZANNE MICHAELS

For the Bulletin

Most people look at stormwater as a problem that must be pulled away from developed property as quickly as possible. Van Clothier sees an opportunity to harvest water with minimal engineering. With the application of simple, basic principles, he says the water can be used for many beneficial irrigation projects in our community.

Clothier is a specialist in water harvesting, stream restoration and erosion who says there is a better, less expensive, less risky way to manage stormwater. He is the founder of Stream Dynamics, Inc., and co-author of Let The Water Do The Work: Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels (worth watching).

Clothier will be in Las Cruces to share his ideas at the Thursday, March 9 Lush and Lean presentation, a free workshop sponsored by Las Cruces Utilities.

When it rains hard in our region, torrents of water race downhill through arroyos, off rooftops and streets, driveways and sidewalks into storm drains and cement culverts to engineered ponding areas behind tall earthen dams.

Clothier estimates a 1-inch rainstorm in a residential neighborhood produces up to 16,000 gallons of storm water runoff per acre. That water could be treated as a resource instead of a nuisance.

“We are water protectors,” Clothier explains. “We can find graceful resolutions to difficult water flow and erosion problems.”

Stream Dynamics, Inc., is a Silver City-based company with U.S. clients throughout New Mexico and Arizona, as well as clients in Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico.

Removal of concrete opens up the land in an urban area to be irrigated during precipitation events. Courtesy photo.
Removal of concrete opens up the land in an urban area to be irrigated during precipitation events. Courtesy photo.

“By applying water harvesting principles, we can slow and collect stormwater in multiple small projects – causing it to soak gently into the ground in many places,” Clothier said.

The water can be stored as soil moisture to support greenspace along our streets, shading our urban environment, instead funneling the water to a ponding area, and then irrigating our trees with expensive drinking quality water from irrigation systems.

All Lush and Lean workshops are free and open to the public; they are held Thursday evenings at the Branigan Library (200 E. Picacho) in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at www.las-cruces.org/WaterConservation or www.facebook.com/cityoflascruces (you don’t need a Facebook account to view this page).

You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.

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