About two dozen South Valley farmers protested at Civic Plaza on Wednesday in response to comments about agricultural water use made by Bernalillo County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada who referred to farmers as being among the “biggest wasters of water.”

The commissioner walked back his comments during Wednesday’s Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority board meeting.

“My comments about agricultural irrigation methods were not intended as a criticism,” Quezada said. “We are all dealing with the effects of long-term drought, and farmers know that better than anyone. There is no more important use of water than to irrigate the crops that feed us.”

At the March 23 board meeting, Quezada had spoken up after a presentation on the utility’s water use goals.

“In my office we’ve been doing some research, and we’ve found that a lot of the agriculture and the farmers tend to be the biggest wasters of water,” he said.

He later clarified that he originally should have said “users of water,” not “wasters.” …

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