27 February 2017
Help Preserve the Opera's Sight Lines and Views
By Charles MacKay
Dear Friend of The Santa Fe Opera:
This message is in regard to the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System Development which will serve the Pojoaque basin.
The Santa Fe Opera has just learned that the Bureau of Reclamation is taking comments on the draft Environmental Impact Statement for Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System (RWS). Comments are due by the end of the day today (February 27, 2017).
The preferred plan for the RWS proposes the construction of a large water tank (nearly 500,000 gallons) on the property line immediately north of the Opera on the current site of the flea market. The proposed tank would measure 58’ high and 39’ in diameter, with related ancillary building(s) and fencing on the property immediately north of the Opera. While we support the overarching goals of this planned water system, the building of a large storage tank and treatment facility so near our rehearsal and performance spaces is of serious concern.
The Bureau of Reclamation is accepting public comments through the end of the day today. We would appreciate you taking the time to read our suggestions below and invite you to submit a comment supporting the relocation of the proposed tank.
- We urge the Bureau of Reclamation to consider relocating the proposed water storage facilities elsewhere due to concerns of health and safety, vistas, and noise impact. Our chief concern is the health and safety of our 700 summer employees and more than 80,000 annual audience members. The chlorinating building proposed in the plan, which must be adjacent to the storage tank, poses a potential chemical risk to our open-air rehearsal and performance spaces near the adjacent property line. We are wary of the impact a potential spill could have on our operations and therefore our cultural and economic impact to the region, estimated at more than $200 million annually. We are also concerned about obstructions of visibility and noise pollution that might result from the proposed water storage tank and building.
- If such a structure is vital to the success of the regional water system, we would endorse and prefer an underground concrete tank situated as far away from the Opera as possible. We also recommend that solar power be considered from the start of the project as an option for powering the facility, with the goal of minimizing environmental impact and obstruction of the beautiful vistas enjoyed by the entire Tesuque Valley and Pojoaque Basin.
- We strongly oppose the alternative plan proposing an above ground steel tank. This would be much more visible, and therefore detrimental, to the Opera's sight lines and acoustics as well as the vistas of the entire region.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter, which is of utmost importance to the Opera. We sincerely hope you will be able to submit a comment by day’s end. Please encourage any friends and neighbors affected by this proposal to submit their thoughts as well.