By Suzanne Michaels
For the Las Cruces Bulletin
Water is flowing fast and furious in the Rio Grande near Las Cruces; in some areas, it’s almost gone over the river banks. The water was released just a few days ago from Elephant Butte reservoir to irrigate farm lands to the south. Along with the sight and sound of water flowing, there are hopeful whispers from some, “Could the drought be over?”
“A better question might be ‘Where are we in the drought?’,” responds Dr. David W. DuBois, who explains, “This may be one good year out of multiple mediocre and bad years; but no, the drought is not over.”
DuBois should know, he chairs the New Mexico Drought Monitoring Workgroup for the Governor’s Drought Task Force. This group meets once a month to discuss the current status of the drought and communicate this to the Governor’s staff and to the public.
DuBois is also the State Climatologist for New Mexico, lives in Las Cruces, and is an Associate College Professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department. DuBois focuses on “climate literacy,” educating by providing climate information to the public through speaking engagements, interviews, and school demonstrations.
You can hear him at the Thursday, May 11th Lush and Lean, hosted by Las Cruces Utilities (LCU). The free workshops are an effort to encourage water conservation.
DuBois’ information is constantly updated thanks to newly published studies. “We can go all the way back to the year 1200 – before there was such population growth – to examine weather records. We’ve seen the most change in the past 100 years,” notes DuBois. He adds, “I explain to residents what changes we are seeing in the climate, and I focus on facts, not personal opinions.”
He also shares information about what you, as an individual, can do to help. DuBois encourages citizen scientists to contribute by monitoring weather at their homes through the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network (www.CoCoRaHS.org).
You can meet Dr. DuBois in person at the Thursday, May 11th Lush and Lean workshop, which is free and open to the public. All workshops 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.