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Old 12-16-2013, 08:26 PM   #21
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I think SoCal, AZ, NM, CO, and TX could all be in for water shortages, as the population keeps increasing in these already arid locations...
For Tx its not the whole state, The part near La has plenty of water, as essentially does Houston, but San Antonio and Austin are short, as is Dallas in the future. Of course further west has been in a water shortage for years.
And of course if you go for native grasses rather than the tropical ones, lawns don't need nearly as much water. (Native grasses have seen droughts before and can survive them, yes the yard may be brown for a while, but it will come back when the rains return)
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:42 PM   #22
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Can you clarify how this affects the quality of life of your friends? Is it the lack of humidity in the air causing health issues? or something else?
The entire Southwest is long people and short water. We have periodic droughts that get scarier and scarier as the years pass. This spring Colorado was in a disastrous drought and we were really looking at some bad times. We camped at a spot that was supposedly lakeside, but the lake was a quarter mile away. I caught trout trapped in a smallish pond that was separated from the main lake by a 15 foot hill of lake bottom. When we finally started getting rain people got excited when the reservoirs got back to the lowest level of the 2003 drought. We got lucky and the rain really kicked up (to the point of disastrous flooding), but the next time we might not be that lucky.Not enough water to drink or flush is a scary proposition.
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Old 12-16-2013, 08:48 PM   #23
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That's one thing I love about living in Louisiana. We have a LOT of water here. Here in New Orleans we are essentially floating on a reclaimed swamp, like islands surrounded by water, bounded by Lake Ponchartrain and the Mississippi River and crossed by canals every few blocks, with water pouring down from the skies in bucketsful half the time when there isn't dense fog with dew all over everything. If I didn't like a rainy, humid climate, that would not be a good thing (but I do).
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Old 12-16-2013, 09:08 PM   #24
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Can one have too much water?

I have been dying for an excuse to post a song by Dirk Powell here. He was involved in the musical scores in the movies "Cold Mountain" and "In the Electric Mist" and several others.

Waterbound by Dirk Powell

I went out on a lane one night
Moon and the stars were shining bright
Storm come up and the trees come down
I tell you boys I was water bound

Waterbound on a stranger's shore
River rising to my door
Carried my home to the field below
Waterbound nowhere to go
...

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Old 12-16-2013, 09:25 PM   #25
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Back to the original question of NM...

DW and I have been there twice in the past year. That's saying a lot since we live on the east coast. NM seems to have a good mix of people representing many walks of life.

While we liked the usual locations such as Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos and such we were really impressed with Silver City.

Silver City is off the beaten bath and was a relatively small community (~10,000) but had lots to offer. There's a university in town and it adds to the hip feel, the downtown is small but has a wide variety of shops, museums, etc. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are about 2 hours away, City of Rocks State Park is south of town, Deming is an hour south, Las Cruces is about 2 hours away.
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Old 12-16-2013, 10:13 PM   #26
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my DW is from ABQ and we plan on moving back there in 3 years. We are in Colorado now, so get down to NM often (she still has relatives there also). Santa Fe seems like it has gotten a little more snobby over the recent years, we noticed on our last off season trip there (last year), so that dissuaded us from continuing to look there. The housing around Rio Rancho (north of ABQ) seems affordable. If you get over to the Sandia mountains east of town, those properties get pricy, especially on the east side of the mountains.

We had an Aunt and Uncle that retired to Silver city. They liked it fine. It might be a little remote for some though. And the geography is great. Northwest from Silver City across the Arizona State line is the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest which I like a lot for its beauty, and it is far enough from the AZ population centers that is doesn't get overloaded with people.
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Old 12-17-2013, 02:14 AM   #27
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Can you clarify how this affects the quality of life of your friends? Is it the lack of humidity in the air causing health issues? or something else?
There are various effects on quality of life. Drought generally means excessive heat so it has been hotter over the last ten years or more (at least it seems like it). Many older and less expensive homes have evaporative coolers are not that efficient at cooling once it gets to mid 90's or hotter.

When the wildfire danger is extremely high, the government closes the national forests to the public or camp fires are not allowed. I live near the Bosque where fire is a threat and those hiking trails may be closed. Fireworks are banned. Of course the forest fires are a danger to those who live in the mountains or have vacation homes there. As someone pointed out, lakes are low. And the ski resorts suffer from less snow. So recreation is impacted.

The large wildfires last for weeks and pollute the air and reduce visibility for many miles and are health concerns to those with asthma, etc. It depends on your proximity to the fire. But for large forest fires where the wind has shifted towards ABQ or fires in the nearby Bosque, the smoke has been bad so that I've had to shut down my cooler or will be drawing smoke into the house. This happens infrequently, a few times a year, but I've had some bad head aches from the smoke. And it is less appealing to go to Taos or Santa Fe or a mountain resort for the weekend if the air is full of smoke. However the wildfire season usually ends by mid July when the rainy season starts.

These are just a few examples. I'm sure there are many more. And they apply to more than just New Mexico.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:49 AM   #28
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There are various effects on quality of life. Drought generally means excessive heat so it has been hotter over the last ten years or more (at least it seems like it). Many older and less expensive homes have evaporative coolers are not that efficient at cooling once it gets to mid 90's or hotter.

When the wildfire danger is extremely high, the government closes the national forests to the public or camp fires are not allowed. I live near the Bosque where fire is a threat and those hiking trails may be closed. Fireworks are banned. Of course the forest fires are a danger to those who live in the mountains or have vacation homes there. As someone pointed out, lakes are low. And the ski resorts suffer from less snow. So recreation is impacted.

The large wildfires last for weeks and pollute the air and reduce visibility for many miles and are health concerns to those with asthma, etc. It depends on your proximity to the fire. But for large forest fires where the wind has shifted towards ABQ or fires in the nearby Bosque, the smoke has been bad so that I've had to shut down my cooler or will be drawing smoke into the house. This happens infrequently, a few times a year, but I've had some bad head aches from the smoke. And it is less appealing to go to Taos or Santa Fe or a mountain resort for the weekend if the air is full of smoke. However the wildfire season usually ends by mid July when the rainy season starts.

These are just a few examples. I'm sure there are many more. And they apply to more than just New Mexico.

I entirely concur with the above examples, even though I'm in Denver, the examples still apply. For me the most egregious example is a friend who had an extreme case of asthma that was terribly inflamed by a several week long nearby forest fire. His breathing became more and more difficult, and within several years he was dead, at age 43. There is no doubt the smoke from the fire pushed his lungs over the edge, and he never recovered. I used this information during another recent fire to encourage people working for me with breathing problems to stay home from work, as the office building was allowing the smoke into the always on ventilation system.

Regarding the heat, we live in an older house, and almost all houses built before 1990 in Colorado do not have air conditioning. Many have evaporative coolers, but many do not. Since the summers have been getting so much hotter, we noticed some interesting things, like we had candles melting and changing shape during the day while we were at work. So we did finally get actual air conditioning. I was telling someone this story recently, and their comment was "so you decided to be part of the problem by getting air-conditioning?". My response was "yes".

New Mexico has and will continue to have serious water problems. They seem to be working on it. It is a concern, but many places have this same concern.
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:01 AM   #29
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Northwest.....you can pretty well pick your weather/scenery. Rain.....lots of rain.....or very little rain. West side fairly wet....East of the Cascades can range from fairly dry to very dry. Great summers on the East side....but Winters can last longer than some would like. Property can be cheap if you stay away from the Seattle/Portland. The Spokane area....depending on what kind of property you want....$250K can buy you a fairly big house with a couple of acres (out of town). Living in places with good weather all the time would bore me to tears. Florida.....Texas.....Hawaii...not for me. I can see their appeal.....and I WOULD like a slightly shorter winter here....but I LIKE snow and cold weather (I also like heat and sun).
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Old 12-17-2013, 09:12 AM   #30
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Living in places with good weather all the time would bore me to tears. Florida.....Texas.....Hawaii...not for me.


We do indeed have weather, but I'm not sure that "good" is the adjective I would use...
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:16 AM   #31
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We do indeed have weather, but I'm not sure that "good" is the adjective I would use...
I spent 5 years in Okinawa. Loved it at first.....warm/hot/humid weather most of the year, but with a cooler 3 months or so during winter. Loved the typhoons.....they know how to build houses to cope there.....even at up to 150mph winds we often wouldn't even lose our electricity. During January a typical day might be 54 in the morning and 65 in the afternoon....and warmer if it was sunny. It just got boring to have the good weather almost all the time. Others.....have stayed there for 30 years working because it is such a comfortable place. If we can scrape the money together (iffy at the moment) we are planning on moving back to N Yorkshire in the UK.....the weather is NOT good.....makes W Washington (where I grew up) look like good weather. Living in a place like Phoenix is my idea of terrible weather.....boring.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:24 AM   #32
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[QUOTE=ABQ2015;1390384]One of the drawbacks of New Mexico is that we have higher crime rates. But if you live in a good neighborhood and take reasonable precautions to prevent property crime, it is not usually a problem. Other drawbacks are poor public schools and lack of good jobs but these are not a concern for retirees.

Related to this I would say that NM consistently being in the top 5 on lists of the poorest states. Here is an interesting list about the poorest states meant for tourist from Norway, possibly. 2013 September: Ten poorest states in the US | Trygghet for utvekslingseleven
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:11 AM   #33
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In one RV trek, we spent some time in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. Earlier this year, coming back from New Orleans we spent a day in Las Cruces, from which to visit White Sand. Quite a few full-time RV bloggers spend a lot of time boondocking in NM state parks due to the state generous policy towards campers. Silver City is frequented by many RV'ers, and I have not been there. Ruidoso is a more upscale town, I believe, and I have not stopped there either.

Though living in its neighbor state, up until we started RV'ing we had not visited NM. I plan to spend a bit more time RV'ing through NM next year. My 2nd home in the AZ high-country is not too far from the state border.

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One of the drawbacks of New Mexico is that we have higher crime rates. But if you live in a good neighborhood and take reasonable precautions to prevent property crime, it is not usually a problem. Other drawbacks are poor public schools and lack of good jobs but these are not a concern for retirees.

Related to this I would say that NM consistently being in the top 5 on lists of the poorest states. Here is an interesting list about the poorest states meant for tourist from Norway, possibly. 2013 September: Ten poorest states in the US | Trygghet for utvekslingseleven
The site mentions "exchange students". This makes sense as it also describes school quality, which a tourist would not care much about.

Curiously, this site shows some areas of New Mexico under Arizona, such as the town of Farmington and the county of San Juan. Look on a map, and one will see that many of the places shown on this site are not something a tourist or an exchange student want to visit. Nogales in AZ is a border town with Mexico, so one can imagine what it is like.

And then, some counties in AZ and NM are mostly Indian reservations. I once drove on US Route 491 going from Gallup, NM to Cortez, CO. This road passed through a desolate high-elevation desert totally devoid of vegetation. It was like a moonscape, and looked very inhospitable. Yet, there were a few houses or ranches sprinkled about. How one can make a living in these places in the Navajo Nation is beyond me! Did the US cheat them and give them this large dry swath of land to scratch a living out of?

Another thing one might consider is that the list of 10 poorest states is based on income. I do not think they consider the cost of living, which might change the order a bit.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:17 AM   #34
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I considered it, as I love the state, the food, and love to visit.

But I couldn't get past the 4.9% state income tax (on income over 24K) and I think they have a capital gains tax too.

Yes, you have to pay property taxes in TX, but if you live modestly and outside a major metropolitan area and have exemptions, for us these are much less onerous than income taxes.

Drought and fires is a concern too - a huge area of the western US is vulnerable to forest fires.

We have plenty of drought in south TX. I'm always aware of where water is coming into the Rio Grande (our water supply). We've had some improved flow this year, and slightly better rains than 2011.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:26 AM   #35
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I once spent some time working with a company in DFW. When the engineers were asked where they went for summer, they said NM. A few had 2nd home there. This should not be surprising, as the average elevation of TX is 1,700 ft, while that of NM is a cool 5,700 ft. That of AZ is 4,100 ft, and that's because its western side is the Colorado River course which is of course lower elevation. By the way, CO has the highest average at 6,800 ft.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:52 AM   #36
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Did the US cheat them and give them this large dry swath of land to scratch a living out of?
Yes. Done over and over to many groups.
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:22 PM   #37
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The entire Southwest is long people and short water. We have periodic droughts that get scarier and scarier as the years pass.
Several years ago a person from Arizona (meaning the dry place) asked when does it stop being a drought and just become our normal weather?
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:37 PM   #38
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It might be hard to believe but CA is in a worse drought than AZ at the moment.

See this:

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Old 12-17-2013, 12:59 PM   #39
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The site mentions "exchange students". This makes sense as it also describes school quality, which a tourist would not care much about.

And then, some counties in AZ and NM are mostly Indian reservations. I once drove on US Route 491 going from Gallup, NM to Cortez, CO. This road passed through a desolate high-elevation desert totally devoid of vegetation. It was like a moonscape, and looked very inhospitable. Yet, there were a few houses or ranches sprinkled about. How one can make a living in these places in the Navajo Nation is beyond me! Did the US cheat them and give them this large dry swath of land to scratch a living out of?
I didn't notice the exchange student mention. That makes more sense that people want to know if they are exchanging with a good school. Some of the links on that page were interesting as well. I had to look up my own house on Neighborhood Search for Home Buyers and Real Estate Investment - NeighborhoodScout

Clearly (to me anyway) Arizona and New Mexico make the 'poor lists', in (large) part because of the Indian Reservations.

One of the attractions of Silver City to me is its proximity to the Arizona high country. I lived in Springerville, AZ for a while.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:09 PM   #40
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Back on the NM water issue, groundwater shortages that many communities depend on are also in critical mode. From a recent article:

"Depleted groundwater is a problem all over the Southwest in this dry season, and New Mexico is one of the states that has it the worst. Last week, a state task force released a report that shows as many as 300 communities have water systems vulnerable to the same combination of factors that led to the sudden failure of Magdalena’s supply: Drought, falling water tables, limited sources of drinking water and aging infrastructure — which is often monitored by volunteers rather than water professionals."

So my friends are literally concerned about the water just running out... or becoming more expensive to develop more resilient supplies.... or having onerous restrictions placed on how they use it.

On a more positive note, Las Cruces is also a less-famous-than-Santa Fe/Abq option for retirement settling. I have some friends who lived at other times of their lives in northern NM, and then moved to southern California for several years. They wanted to return to NM for retirement, and really like the small university town atmosphere of Las Cruces.
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