Water can be in plain view but we don't necessarily "see" it in the profound way that it deserves, and when we don't really see it clearly, we don't think about it as deeply and creatively as we otherwise might. Re-imagining water and opening ourselves to new ways of understanding water starts with the simple act of paying attention.
Traveling to new places confronts us with new waterscapes that capture our attention for their exotic appeal: waterfalls, rivers, the canals running through Amsterdam, or the fountains of Rome. But it can be equally rewarding to learn to see water in our daily lives: Be on the lookout for water wonders whether natural (a river) artificial (a manhole cover).
Santa Fe's Water Cycle
During May 2017, WCI Director, David Groenfeldt joined the Santa Fe Art Institute's Water Rights Residency Program, to explore how to "see" the cycle of our local drinking water. His photo project traced the path of the city's drinking water from the the point where it is diverted from the Santa Fe River (impounded in reservoirs and conveyed to a water treatment plant), stored in above-ground water tanks, then distributed through the city, flushed into the sewer system, collected at the wastewater treatment plant, and then reused as greywater for parks and golf courses, or released back to the river.
Another source of drinking water is the Rio Grande, where water is diverted directly from the river, pumped some 10 miles to a water treatment plant, and then stored in a large water tank and distributed through the city pipes. A third and more hidden source of water is deep wells tapped by pumps housed in non-descript buildings around town. All three sources of water converge in the city's plumbing system, indicated on the surface only by manhole covers, and the rare instance of an above-ground pipe.