I was saddened to see that water conservation received such short shrift in this article. The easiest, cheapest way to conserve water supplies is simply not to use them. Instead of figuring out how to put blankets on snowdrifts, why not just focus on turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or shaving?

Alan Bergquist
Goleta, Calif.

As a resident of the arid Southwest, I was glad to see that many cities are thinking about ways to bank water, but my eyebrows went way up when I read that injecting water into aquifers “may feed bacteria in the aquifer.” Isn’t it also possible that water injected into aquifers can introduce bacteria not otherwise found there, volatile hydrocarbons, polymers, heavy materials, and so forth? Is banking water also a way of banking water pollution?

Eric Wolf
Santa Fe, N.M.

The article fails to note that each plan for banking water removes more water from rivers that are already stressed. At present, the western rivers are almost totally allocated (or even overallocated). Aquifer storage and water banking will ensure that all of the water is indeed diverted from the rivers and consumed, even during wet years, thereby leaving the rivers as frequently dry conduits, used for intermittent delivery of commodity water and for discharge of sewage effluent.

Donald A. Neeper
Los Alamos, N.M.

Your story struck close to home. Unfortunately, you did not mention the root problem: the cumulative impact of urban sprawl, agricultural chemicals, wetland destruction, overgrazing, and deforestation that has dramatically reduced the land’s capacity to absorb and steadily release water. Soils that are compacted, eroded, and biologically crippled not only sharpen drought, but they increase the frequency and intensity of flooding. We must recognize drought as a multidimensional problem that is primarily ecological in nature and that clever engineering alone can’t fix.

Douglas Romig
Santa Fe, N.M.

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