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Rainwater Harvesting and Soil Testing Workshop

On September 29, 2023, the Santa Ana Pueblo Department of Natural Resources, Drought Learning Network, National Drought Mitigation Center, New Mexico State University Pueblo Extension, and Southwest Climate Hub collaborated to host a water and soil conservation workshop. Dave DuBois, New Mexico State Climatologist, gave a fall and winter season outlook for both drought and rainfall for the region. Then Shaina Tallas, Regional Tribal Climate Resilience Coordinator, with the Bureau of Indian Affairs gave an overview of the many funding opportunities available for tribal communities to address natural resource concerns.  

Jacob Shaffer, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Services Detailee with the Southern Plains Climate Hub, shared information on harvesting rainwater as a supplemental source of water to help alleviate drought. “Water is always the highest priority topic when discussing agricultural concerns,” stated Shaffer, “crops, wildlife, livestock, and humans cannot sustain a healthy life without a proper water supply.” After the presentation, Shaffer demonstrated to participants how to construct a simple, effective rain barrel. The demonstration rain barrels were assembled with a ¾ faucets, 2-inch x 3-inch PVC adapters for capturing water from a downspout, and an overflow to allow water to exit the barrels once filled. Once the barrels were assembled, they were raffled off to workshop participants. One individual was from the San Ildefonso Pueblo and the other was from Ramah Navajo. 

rain barrel

Next on the agenda was Charlene Carr, Agriculture Agent/Southern Pueblo with New Mexico State University who discussed the importance of soil testing, where to send tests, and keeping a living root in the ground such as legumes to help feed soil microbes. 

“This event has been extremely informational, and our members have truly enjoyed learning about water harvesting, funding, and soil testing,” stated Tammy Montoya, Department of Natural Resources Water Resource Division for the Santa Ana Pueblo. 

The event concluded with a hands-on field visit to collect soil samples from a local farmer's field. 

Please contact Helena Deswood ( for more information.