Cannon trying to save water

By David Arkin/Correspondent

Southwest landscaping is helping Cannon Air Force Base conserve water.

Base officials say they’re concerned about future water supplies like everyone else.

Ken Cable, operations flight deputy commander at Cannon, said base officials are trying to put plans together for the outside of their main buildings that include southwest landscaping, or xeriscaping.

Cannon officials have described xeriscaping as the use of designs that mix healthy amounts of non-living materials, such as rock and bark, with sparing use of plants native to desert and arid climates.

“This proven method of water conservation has been highly encouraged at Cannon since 1997 and has been mandatory for all landscaping projects since 1999,” Carla Givens, solid waste manager at Cannon, wrote in a guest column for the newspaper last year.

Cable said base officials try to “do away with water” at every opportunity.

For those yards that still have grass, Cannon asks residents to follow an every-other-day watering policy in the warm-weather months. Officials also ask base residents to limit watering to the hours of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Cable said the base monitors the amount of water it pumps from the aquifer.

“When we start getting above 2 million gallons of water a day, we will start implementing the (warm-weather) program,” he said.

“We implement it when everyone is watering their grounds and trying to keep everything looking nice,” he said.

Officials from the base’s housing office drive around daily checking on residents’ water use.

“They will drive around and see if there is water running down the street and if they find some they will trace it and find the individual,” Cable said. “If they don’t find anyone at the home they will turn the person’s water off.”

Cable said Cannon does not issue citations for those who violate the base’s water rules, but it does pay close attention to the amount of water use.

“We are making sure that we are good stewards of what we have,” Cable said.

Cable said the base tries to act when opportunities arise to be smart with water.

One example: Cannon uses a wastewater treatment plant and takes the effluent water that has been treated and uses it again for watering at the base’s golf course.