Water Is Not Infinite

Elise Rosado

In 2018 the San Luis Valley entered a water crisis due to heavy irrigation for agriculture, despite a high output of agricultural products such as potatoes, barley, and alfalfa. Although farmers were obligated to return some of the water being diverted for irrigation back into the Rio Grande, this method hasn’t always been executed due to overuse and drought.  The center-pivot irrigation system pumps water directly from aquifers, a method deemed more reliable in seasons of low mountain runoff.  In 2018, the aquifer’s were recorded at an all-time low of 800,000 acre-feet below the legally mandated recovery level.  If the San Luis Valley does not find a way to regulate their water use before 2031, a large portion of agricultural land will be sanctioned as government property to shut off irrigation, threatening the livelihood of hundreds of farmers in the valley.  Water Is Not Infinite functions as a confrontational sculptural work, urging the residents of the San Luis Valley to find solutions for water sustainability. The utilization of a center pivot sprinkler encased by barbed wire fencing conveys the weight of water conservation in agriculturally based communities as the work travels through various locations in and around Alamosa, Colorado. 

*Signage reads: "2018 put the San Luis Valley 800,000 acre-feet below the aquifer's legally mandated recovery level. 2031 is the deadline to allow the water system to reach a sustainable level. Act Now!"*